Tag Archives: election

“No Statute or Regulation Shall Be Enacted Into Law Unless…”

As I write this week’s weak column, Texans are one day away from the 2018 state primary election. I’m too late to add one more ill-fated proposition to the list of mostly D.O.A. propositions already on the ballot.

But I’d like to submit this one: “No statute or regulation shall be enacted into law unless two existing laws or regulations are rescinded, removed, deleted, trashed, shredded, deep-sixed, done away with, gone.”

I should’ve floated that idea to some political candidates while they were still in moon-promising mode. They’ve been pretty busy sending out mailings, littering the landscape with signs, and making television ads. Most of the latter require a big cowboy hat (cattle are optional), a pickup, a shotgun or three, a promise to out-conservative fake conservatives, and a pic of the family praying before a meal or heading to church—all sandwiched between vicious attack ads that should make a pagan blush. Most of these folks seem to think voters are idiots, and we voters have done precious little to disabuse them of the notion.

We may all lose, but some candidates will eventually win, and I wish the winners would consider the proposition I’ve mentioned. Why? Because having too many laws is the surest way to erode respect for the law. We do a lousy job even of trying to keep God’s Ten, but we’ve got so many laws now that even normal people (Donald and Hillary and special prosecutors by the boatload are not normal people) can’t get out of bed without breaking a law before breakfast. If your faith is in government, you may find this state of affairs reassuring; I do not.

I loved a recent Wall Street Journal commentary by attorney Mike Chase who has so far posted a thousand laws, one a day, on Twitter at @CrimeA-Day. He’ll never finish (he says that in 1982, the Department of Justice tried to count the total number of federal crimes and gave up), but reading these is a hoot, and here are a few.

It’s a federal crime to transport a toy torpedo bigger than 23mm in diameter.

It’s a federal crime (hereinafter IAFC) to sell “egg noodles” that aren’t ribbon-shaped.

IAFC for a hamster dealer to put a hamster on an airplane without enough for the afore-mentioned rodent to eat and drink during the flight.

IAFC to market as “wing drumettes” any bird part that is not the humerus of a poultry wing.

IAFC to sell antiperspirant that “lasts all day” unless it reduces armpit sweat by 20% over 24 hours.

IAFC to import honeybee semen if it’s not Australian, Bermudan, Canadian, French, British, New Zealand, or Swedish bee semen.

IAFC to engage in Canada goose population control by shooting geese from a parked car, but not if you’re missing one or both legs.

And so on, ad infinitum ad nauseam ad heehawingum.

I admit that human kingdoms need some laws, but the Lord Jesus has told us that in his kingdom, two are enough: love God and love your neighbor as yourself. I’m thankful that Christ’s sacrifice means that, while his people are confessed law-breakers without a single self-justifiable leg to stand on, we’re forgiven sinners with two good legs to dance on as we praise God forever for his mercy and grace.

 

       You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

Copyright 2018 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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A Vice President-Elect, a Theater, and an Ambush

 

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When Vice President-elect Mike Pence walked into the theater to watch the Broadway play Hamilton recently, he was not Abraham Lincoln and it was not Ford’s Theatre, but Mr. Pence walked into an ambush. He might have smelled trouble immediately upon entering. The air was thick with self-righteousness.

The actions of the booing and churlish crowd are utterly indefensible upon any grounds. If as a child I’d been caught in such behavior, my mother, unhampered by “progressive” ideas, would have delivered a speech and a liberally applied spanking to a son she refused to let grow up as a boor and a brat.

That the speech prepared beforehand by the cast to be delivered to Vice President-elect Pence was civilly presented means that the ambush was a tad less brutal than most. But it was still an ambush, premeditated and perpetrated by hosts upon a guest in their “home.”

The backdrop, of course, was the recent election. Columnist George Will well describes its outcome: “a loser who deserved to lose and a winner who did not deserve to win.”

But we did have an election. And we did have an outcome. And it is high time to behave.

I find myself wondering what it would have been like to be singing or preaching at a venue in which, some eight years ago, Vice President-elect Biden was in attendance. I’m not a fan. But I honestly cannot imagine ambushing the man in a theater or church where I had any control. If the crowd started booing him, I can easily imagine delivering a speech—but it would not be to him.

Self-righteousness short-circuits civility, and brutish arrogance is no more the temptation of the right than it is the left.

Whether we lean right or left, it’s no surprise when our most seriously held political opinions become so entwined with our moral convictions that it’s hard to separate them. At times, they can’t be separated and shouldn’t be. At other times, more often than we think, they can and should. At all times, demonizing those we disagree with is only effective if we wish to become demons.

I well remember listening to a sermon presented by a seriously left-leaning guest preacher at a church I was visiting. He prefaced his comments by expressing a desire for us to understand that he was not being political; he was just standing for God’s truth. I had no trouble imagining a right-leaning preacher at a church down the street stepping into a pulpit and giving exactly the same preface. Both would pass lie detector tests as both prepared to preach their politics.

I’m sure the audience members booing VP-elect Pence in that theater felt that the gravity of the moral injustice just perpetrated in the election, and the more serious evils they are sure will soon be unleashed, made their behavior justifiable, even necessary. In a different time and a different theater, perhaps their equally zealous counterparts on the opposite side might feel the same way. Both would be wrong.

And for Christians the question is as always: how would our Lord behave? What would he say?

 

     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com

 

 

Copyright 2016 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


“To See the Sort of Knights You Dub,” a Pub, Please

 

 

 

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For the many years I’ve been writing this column/blog, I’ve tried to avoid being political, and I intend to keep trying.

But I feel oddly at peace with making occasional comments that stand a good chance of making everybody—conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, red or blue, right-leaning or left-leaning, or just leaning half a bubble off of any kind of leaning—mad.

A recent Gallup poll shows each of the two  main presidential nominees coming in with an “unfavorability” rating of more than 50% (52% and 62%, to be precise; you can guess who wins the contest for most “unfavorability”).

An Internet search will net a bunch of stats, but one poll shows that “one-quarter of voters” dislike both candidates. Still another confirms that “most Americans dislike” both. “Record-breaking” is the term used to describe the numbers reflecting, well, Americans’ level of nausea when they consider presidential candidates they evidently consider to be far less than presidential material.

The wry wordsmith G. K. Chesterton almost 100 years ago now penned a little poem (“Ballade of an Anti-Puritan”) poking fun at the quality of the knights being “dubbed” to preserve grand old England.

“Prince,” he opined, “Bayard [the faithful and chivalrous French knight of old] would have smashed his sword / To see the sort of knights you dub— / Is that the last one of them?”

And accurately taking the measure of the new “knights,” he just hangs his head and begs, “O Lord / Will someone take me to a pub?”

I won’t be advising drunkenness, but viewing our present choices, I can well understand the temptation to and serious need for some sort of potent anesthetic. Whichever way this circus goes, the pain-killer may need to be of a long-acting, “sustained release” variety.

If you have a choice on a difficult Monday as to which you’d prefer—a root canal or a colonoscopy—on Tuesday, I suppose you’d have to admit that it’s a real choice. But I wouldn’t blame you for being a tad depressed on Sunday. And no surprise that either one would be a lingering pain in the tail section on Wednesday.

And that, my friends, pretty much sums up my feelings about our 2016 incredibly un-presidential presidential choices. In two words, utterly appalling. If I trample on your political position, my apologies. The polls, however, show that, on this rare occasion, my opinion is the majority opinion and, if it were an option, “None of the Above” would be elected to the presidency in November by a landslide.

This mess is hard to swallow. That this great nation can do no better than this boggles the mind. But a reminder to Christians that we are citizens of a kingdom with one all-powerful and all-loving King, and that the universe is not a democracy, is not without its blessings.

 

 

     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

 

Copyright 2016 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


Too Much Political TV Leads to Soul Heartburn

 

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Confession is “good for the soul.” So I confess: I’ve been watching too much political TV. And that leads to soul heartburn.

It’s one thing to want some information. We do, after all, have a big election coming up. Yea, verily, presidential. Surely is looking like I’ll be holding my nose with one hand, voting with the other, and then washing with soap. But I’d like to be a voter who is as informed as he is nauseated.

Enough’s enough, though. Sins of excess often carry their own punishment. A political overdose tends to make me surly, cynical, snippy, and generally depressed. The dog starts avoiding me. I become one of those people who can bring light and joy and laughter into any room just by leaving it.

I need to remember that no election will change who my King is—and that it’s great exercise to punch the power button on the TV remote. OFF more than ON will help my home, my mind, my soul, and my disposition, whether the shows are political or not.

But here’s another confession. While I’ve been writing this, the TV has been on. Sound down, but on. Can you spell “addiction”?

In a pathetic defense, I will say that it’s been an interesting few days politically. Stuff happening fast. Candidates calling it quits. Then endorsing . . . “Are you kidding?! Two days ago, you said, . . .” Really?!

Anyway, I left the TV on, sound down, when I fired up my computer . . . and noticed something. When they’re mute (it takes a button for that) these candidates may reveal more about themselves than when they’re prattling on aloud. I’m not much of a lip-reader, but, sound down, I began to note with new interest what their faces and body language may be saying more loudly than their words. Eyes really are a window into the soul. Body language is a real language.

Some of these folks point a lot. Some scowl a lot. Some seem habitually angry. Some smile seemingly genuinely, easily. Some smile “plastically,” on cue; the smile-time message from their mouths was hijacked before it got to their eyes. Some tilt their heads back and look down their noses. All of them just look tired. The most interesting body language I’ve seen was telegraphed from a former candidate standing behind the guy he’d just endorsed. The endorser looked like he desperately needed a strong antidepressant or a big gin and tonic.

If I’m reading the body language right, I’ve seen a candidate or two I’d like to invite into my home for a talk. Some others? Not hardly.

In any case, I recommend the sound down approach for a change. The proverb-writer is on to something when he warns that a “troublemaker” not only “goes about with a corrupt mouth,” he “winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers” while he is plotting “evil with deceit in his heart” (Proverbs 6).

I wonder what my own body language says about my heart, my soul. More than I suspect, I suspect.

 

 

      You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

 

Copyright 2016 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering


“Send Me Some Money, and I’ll Set the Record Straight”

 

 

election2016

One of the folks running for president just sent me a nice note. That’s something that doesn’t happen every day.

No, it’s now actually about every other day that I find notes in my email in-box from several presidential candidates.

Better make that “candidates for president” since they’re not all, in my opinion, particularly presidential. And, to be more accurate and keep political science majors happy, better make that “candidates for their party’s presidential nomination.”

I get notes from different candidates (they seem to have decided that sharing their lists makes sense), but so far the email notes have come from only one political party. I figure the other party has profiled me (accurately) or may just be a little (understandably) skittish about email right now.

Anyway, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised to get that most recent note, particularly since the candidate counts me as “one of his closest and most loyal supporters.” (If that’s true, he’d better park his bus.) The note was urgent, he says, for at least two reasons.

First, the present front-runner (the guy whose hair is as mysterious as a televangelist’s and seems to defy gravity and any other logical explanation) has been saying some really unkind things about him, and he (the candidate who feels so very close to me and values my friendship) needs to “set the record straight.”

Second, setting the record straight is not cheap. The guy who’s sure he’s my guy is coming up a little short of his goal. Make that $340,970 short, to be exact.

I feel bad about his difficulty, and I feel worse because I’m pretty sure I won’t be sending any money his way. As selfish as this may sound, I’m about $2 million short of my own goal. Now that he’s given me the idea, I may consider writing emergency email notes to my closest and most loyal friends asking them to help remedy my own tragic shortfall.

Seriously, I can only imagine how much money it takes to fund a presidential campaign. Even for a guy with his name attached to a tower, it’s gotta be something more than petty cash. And I figure folks ought to be able to give their own money to whomever they wish. Since it takes little more than a pulse these days (and sometimes not even that) to be a registered voter, why shouldn’t it be just as easy to write a check to a candidate who desperately needs to “set the record straight”?

It just depresses me to think that the handlers of most of the candidates from both parties seem to think the folks they’re asking for money are all idiots.

When the time comes, I’ll vote. I’ll likely have to hold my nose when I do it. It’s pretty hard for me to imagine these days that anyone I’d really like to see as president is even remotely electable.

But in all of this, it’s a good idea to try to keep some sense of balance (and humor). Read a very little history and you’ll find that craziness in presidential elections is nothing at all new.

Most of all, it’s a great idea at all times to remember that our real King easily trumps presidents and plastic presidential candidates any day.

 

 

      You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com! No campaign donations requested, though if you wanted to buy a CD, that’d be okay! 😉

  

 

Copyright 2016 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


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