Regarding Jeff Sessions

Reading Time: 1 minutes

I campaigned for and voted for Donald Trump. I stand 100% behind Trump today.

I support Trump because he’s a fighter. He’s a man of action. Trump prosecutes his causes, he doesn’t navel gaze.

Jeff Sessions is a good man. He’s a good Washington man. He has standards of decorum. Standards I admire.

Trump has no standards of decorum. But I voted for Trump because history has made decorum a liability, even a vice. Decorum accomplishes much in times of relative harmony. Decorum opens to the door to destruction in times like these.

If Trump wants Sessions, I’m for Sessions.

If Trump wants someone else, I trust Trump’s judgment.

Just my opinion. I could be wrong. But if you think harder about this than I do, you’re navel gazing.

Why You Must See Dunkirk

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When Winston Churchill mouthed these eternal words, his nation’s life expectancy was about six months.

All of Western Civilization, all of Christiandom, seemed doomed.

One defiant man ended a speech to his House of Commons with this:

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Where is Churchill’s defiance today?

Can you imagine Paul Ryan mouthing words even close to those of Winston Churchill’s? Ryan speaks in buzzwords and beltway slogans. Could Paul Ryan, with a gun to his head, ever sound like Churchill?

Never.

The movie Dunkirk emphasizes the hundreds of British fishermen, tour boat captains, and recreational sailors who sailed into Nazi bombs in order to rescue their fellow Brits and beleaguered Frenchmen.

Would American Millennials risk their boats, much less their lives, to save strangers? (Except for the ones like my kids who are in harm’s way today.)

Bring a Millennial to see Dunkirk this week. Buy their ticket. Remind them that this really happened.

Freedom is worth fighting for. Liberty is worth dying for. Leisure kills. Effort saves. Devotion merits. Sloth degrades.

Listen to Churchill’s speeches after Dunkirk. I have linked them below.

What’s at stake now is not America. It’s civilization itself.

Donald Trump is not a threat to that civilization. Those who would destroy him are the threat.

The rule of law, free association, religious liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to a fair trial. These are all at stake. Do these things no longer matter?

I will leave you with these words. Not my words. The words of the man who stood between civilization and Hitler in 1940:

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

1940 was certainly Britain’s finest hour. Let this be ours.

Churchill Speeches:

Never Surrender

Finest Hour

 

For you Millennials, those dark spots are human beings. 

 

Feeling Exposed and Protected

Reading Time: 4 minutes

People want cover. Danger drives us together.

It’s our nature. Our herding response gave our species an advantage. The herders lived to breed. The wanderers, the stragglers, fell prey. Genes of herders increased. Genes of loners receded.

But our strongest cover is our parents. They’re the protection we seek.

The pair of humans who brought us into the world provide the best cover. We are born helpless. Our parents sustain us. Our mothers feed us from their very bodies. They eat for us. They change our diapers. They keep us warm with their body heat.

Later, they push us. They balance risk and safety, urging us to experiment with the dangerous world around us. They build our courage by giving us cover. We learn that, if we move to too fast or run too far, Mom or Dad will bind our wounds, wipe our tears, cool our fevers. And, when recovered, urge us to try again.

Whether you’re three or fifty-three, the loss of a parent is the loss of cover. The loss of a parent makes you vulnerable. One less layer between you and the gods. One less layer between you and the wolves. One step closer to the tip of the spear.

My dad is 92. He’s still my protection against the world. He’s still a buffer for me against the wolves of life. His example is still a bridge too far. His strength is still beyond my mettle. His sense of duty is still an aspiration.

And, until last Wednesday, my dad’s wonderful wife, my mom, also protected me from the gods. From the wolves. From life.

Until Wednesday.

No surprise. We knew mom was declining. We knew her battle against the gods and wolves was going poorly. A stroke several weeks ago. Years of Alzheimer’s progression. Falls in the nursing home that left her ancient limbs purple with bruises.

But a 92-year-old mother whose language skills had left long ago was still the best cover and the trustiest protection a frightened man could ever ask for. Mom would take a bullet for me. For you. Moms take bullets like dads do.

I take it as Mom’s final endorsement of me, because my ego is huge. About 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 19, my mom, Rita Virginia (Mahon) Hennessy decided I was finally mature enough to face the gods and the wolves on my own. Or, at least, with only the protection of my great father, Jack. After 53 years, having FINALLY prepared me for manhood, mom surrendered her earthly body to science and stepped into her eternal reward. A reward too long delayed. Delayed, I assume, because her idiot son wasn’t ready.

(My sisters probably feel the same way as I do. But they’ve seemed mature to me for decades. They’re the responsible ones. I’ve always been the baby. Mom needed them. I needed mom.)

But I guess she decided I am finally ready. Ready to live without her protection. Like my sisters.

I feel exposed. Exposed to the gamma rays from distant stars. Exposed to the criticism of a cruel world. Exposed to all the pains my mom shielded me from. Exposed to the gods and to the wolves.

I’ll spare you, reader. I won’t recount the thousands of times my mom shielded me from the pains of life. You have your memories of your mom’s mercy and comfort. But I will share one story.

My mom was sort of tough. Her mom, my grandma, was soft and gentle and gave me a banana whenever I wanted one. And candy. And money. But mom was tougher. Honestly, dad was an easier mark for us kids. Dad was a softy compared to mom.

But mom did so much for us. She just didn’t want us to talk about it. For one, she drove me to St. Mary’s High School every day. Because I wanted to go to St. Mary’s because it was tougher than DuBourg. (Yes, it was.)

My mom wanted me to go to Bishop DuBourg High School. She said I’d have more friends and it would be closer. Close enough to walk. She was right.

But I chose St. Mary’s. And my parents put up with that. Because I was Bill. I was The Boy. I was spoiled.

One morning in February of my sophomore year, I decided I didn’t want to go to St. Mary’s anymore. Ya know, like a spoiled brat. I wanted to go to DuBourg now. I was so ready to transfer, I was ready to admit to my mom, “you were right; I was wrong.”

And I did.

I remember that morning. Mom drove me in silence from Scanlan Avenue to St. Mary’s. It was cold and sunny. She turned off Gustine onto Itaska Street as she did every day. She parked. But I didn’t get out.

I sat in the passenger’s seat of her 1974 green Ford Maverick with my saxophone case and books clutched to my chest. And I cried. Cried like a baby. Wailed. Sobbed. Snot ran down on the black vinyl sax case, glistening in the morning sun.

“What’s the matter, Billy?”

“I don’t want to go here anymore,” I sobbed.

I don’t remember the rest of the conversation. Not in detail, anyway. But I got out of that car at some point. I got out of that car confident I would be a DuBourger in the fall. I’d agreed to finish out the year at St. Mary’s. Then I could transfer to DuBourg.

If you’ve seen me speak at a Tea Party rally, you probably think I was born with a sort of cocky self-confidence. I wasn’t. I was born a frightened, shy little baby. And I still am in many ways.

When I got out of my mom’s Maverick that morning and walked toward the front door of St. Mary’s, I felt more confident than I’d ever felt in my life to that point. A confidence that’s with me today.

My confidence came, not from me, but from mom. From knowing that someone still stood between me and the gods. Between me and the wolves.

With my mom watching out for me, I could do anything.

Now, my mom watches from another plane. But her love and devotion, her protection and sacrifice, gives me the confidence to do whatever I need to do.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O lord. Let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

 

Mom and Dad. Probably 1979.

 

UPDATE: Kid Rock Winning MI Senate Race

Reading Time: 1 minutes

If the election were held today, Senator Kid Rock would be a thing.

Via The Gateway Pundit:

News broke this weekend that Kid Rock is LEADING challenger, Dem Debbie Stabenow in a new poll 30% to 26%!

Everyone who wrote this off as a joke, then as a publicity stunt, then as impossible, then as improbable will be forced to say “Senator Rock” soon. Very soon.

Try this:

Finally, via The Gateway Pundit:

“He’s well-liked in Michigan. He’s a hometown darling. He’s got deep connections to Detroit. He’s done a lot throughout the state.”

“Anybody who’s writing him off is making a mistake,”former chairman of the Michigan GOP, Saul Anuzis, told POLITICO.

 

Free Forever Through Stoicism

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Some things we can control, some we can’t. We can control our attitudes, opinions, goals and desires – choices of our own. We can’t control health, wealth, fame or power – things we can’t have by choosing them.” —Epictetus

Freedom begins with understanding what we control and we do not. Yet very few people even begin to consider this essential dichotomy.

Even in the complete absence of “administration” as Tocqueville observed in early 19th century America, no one was free who failed to understand Epictetus’s control dichotomy: some things are under our control, some are not.

Conversely, Viktor Frankl never lost his essential freedom even when a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps. He never lost his freedom to choose his response. Frankl, and most of the survivors, clearly understood what was in their control and what was not.

Likewise, Admiral James Stockdale understood the dichotomy. He credits Stoicism with helping him survive seven and a half years in Hanoi Hilton. As he drifted to earth after ejecting from his jet, he said to himself, “I am leaving the modern world for Epictetus’s world.”

My dogs are upset.

Some neighbor had the temerity to walk down the street. The dogs don’t like that. My dogs haven’t come to grips with the things they can and cannot control. They want the world to work one way. It works another way before their eyes. So they yell at it.

How different are we from dogs?

Look at me. Page through this blog. How many times every week do I yell at the world for being different than the way I wish it to be?

Yesterday, I wrote a LinkedIn article on the subject of stoic persuasion. It asserts that understanding this dichotomy is the basis of influencing others. We cannot influence people when we’re trying to control them. The less we seek control over others, the more likely they are to follow.

It’s a paradox within a dichotomy.

You might not agree with Epictetus and me. You might have a formula for ethically controlling other people to do your bidding. You might have a super power that lets you control others’ minds and manipulate their wills.

It took me a while, but I finally realized have no such power. I cannot control those things that are not in my control.

And the only things in my control are my actions, my beliefs, my likes and dislikes.

One of those beliefs is that influence begins with understanding what we control and what we don’t.

So I’m going to try to practice that belief. Practice my belief so I can stop being a hypocrite. Maybe this is the path to true freedom.

I’m also adding a new category: Stoicism. More to follow, Deo volente.

Senator Rock: Who’s the Joke? (offensive) VIDEO

Reading Time: 2 minutes

My serious Republican friends (think of people like Chris Wallace and Charles Krauthammer) worry.

They worry about this trend toward “unserious” politicians getting elected.

They worry about “what it says about voters” who elect Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and (very soon) Kid Rock.

These serious Republicans long for the days of serious men and serious matters. Of gray flannel suits beneath salt-and-pepper hair belonging to Yale grads and Harvard Law professors who can, on occasion, in the right circumstances, with just the right audience, shock the world with an (are you ready for this?) off-color joke!

The joke’s the thing.

The joke.

These serious Republicans decry the “joke” candidates. The joke president. The joke governor of Alaska.

But the joke’s on them.

And it ain’t very funny.

If you went to Yale like your great grandfather and you have a place in the Hamptons and your help drives a hybrid, Kid Rock looks like a novelty.

But if you drive a truck or operate a forklift in a steel plant, Kid Rock is real and Paul Ryan’s the (lame) joke.

To the 90% who make America run, who fight our wars and splurge by taking the family to Applebee’s, Kid Rock is real. Mitch McConnell’s the (lame) joke.

Once upon a time, those serious Yale alums with gray hair and gray suits got the job done. They stood up to the Soviet Union. They attended VFW meetings. They took their duty more seriously than they took themselves.

But that Ivy League gentry-entrenched establishment class of the Cold War era gave birth to a pussy generation of narcissists who take nothing seriously but their own selfies. And they take those selfies damn serious.

Chris Wallace thinks Kid Rock’s a novelty candidate. But tens of millions of us laugh at Chris Wallace. When he’s trying to be serious.

These divergent views of American politics won’t be reconciled. One will beat the other into submission. It’ll take a generation or two before the losers are bred out of the culture. But they the losers will be bred out. Like Neanderthals.

I’m betting on the Kid Rock side to win. The joke is the GOP leadership who were handed a mandate and used it for toilet paper. They can be bred out of existence in a generation.