Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 01/07/21

We all condemn the rioting at the Capitol. Let’s be extremely clear and unequivocal about that. Those who breached the building and committed vandalism and violence should have the book thrown at them, no ifs, ands or buts. That’s very clear and certainly not in dispute here.

At the same time, the ugly incident does not negate the rights of the, yes, mostly peaceful demonstrators who did not participate in the attack to air their grievances.  Just as it was wrong to taint those protesting for police reform in the wake of the (IMHO) murder of George Floyd at the knee of a (IMHO) psychotic cop with the actions of those who used those protests as a cover for violence, arson and looting, it’s not right to paint those skeptical about how the presidential election was conducted with a broad, condemnatory brush. It’s also wrong, BTW, to taint all (often heroic) cops with the actions of a relative few. The general principle is we should condemn what needs to be condemned without seeking to exploit terrible events for partisan political agendas or as a pretext for restricting free speech.

On CBS This Morning Sen. Amy Klobuchar weighed in on the incident earlier today (above). While I join in her condemnation of the Capitol breach, I would have liked to have heard a more healing message from her. Instead I heard an intention to unfairly extend blame to pretty much anyone who attended the rally or even expressed any support for it.

At about the two-minute mark, she (let’s apply the media’s favorite election skeptic adjective here) falsely suggests the incident was the worst attack on Congress since the British set fire to the Capital in 1814. It seems she forgot about that time in 2017 when a Bernie Sanders-supporting gunman opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers engaged in a practice for a congressional baseball game. Or the likelihood that the al Qaida-hijacked plane that crashed into a Pennsylvania field on 9/11 was en route to the Capital Building (She might have remembered that had the plane been hijacked by Republicans). And then there was that time in 1954 when four Puerto Rican nationalists shot 30 rounds from semi-automatic pistols from within the House of Representatives chamber, wounding five congressmen. The perpetrators’ sentences were eventually commuted by President Carter in the 1970’s.

So, let’s all agree that the rioting at the Capitol was a travesty. At the same time, it would be nice if we could put aside partisan political opportunism for a commitment to hear one another’s honestly felt concerns on everything from police brutality to election security.

Meanwhile, presumptive incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer thinks it’s a wise use of time and energy to mount yet another impeachment effort against a president with less than two weeks left in office.  Way to heal, Chuck.
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A Healing Agenda for America. It’s what we need right now and, to my mind, this is what it includes:

1. Triaging current politically-stoked racial unrest with common-sense policies that looks forward, not backward
2. Learning from the current COVID-19 crisis to be ready (and united) for the next potential pandemic
3. Reestablishing confidence in the security and trustworthiness of our elections and courts
4. Creating a true social safety net based on citizen empowerment, not government dependency
5. Passing tax and trade reform that protects American workers, rewards entrepreneurship and reduces wealth inequality
6. Passing budget reform that keeps America solvent for future generations
7. Passing immigration and border security reform that is strong, reasonable and compassionate
8. Keeping Americans safe from crime and violence
9. Maintaining the world’s strongest military balanced with a humble foreign policy based on thoughtfully promoting world peace, human rights and America’s legitimate interests
10. Protecting the environment (a good idea regardless of one’s views on climate change)
11. Reasserting tolerance for differing opinions as a national value
12. Checking the growing and dangerous power of unprecedented multinational corporate media/technology behemoths and online mobs

This isn’t a game. We need to get serious about this. As the currently controversial and insufficiently woke President Abraham Lincoln wisely noted “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” These days the now former congresswoman and Democratic Party presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is about as close to a modern-day Lincoln as I see out there. While she was roundly rejected by party power brokers and doesn’t appear to be on President-elect Biden’s speed dial for wisdom, she’s on my radar as the sort of calm and patriotic leader this country needs. Here’s what she had to say about yesterday’s disturbance:

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Quote of the Week:

“It’s important that we’re exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion, but what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn. So it is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future.” – British comedy legend Rowan Atkinson expressing his concern over the rise of Cancel Culture as enforced by the Thought Police

I’m with Mr. Bean – but am also heartened by this less recent quote:

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind

With faith, courage, compassion, forgiveness, mutual respect, gratitude for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us and God-given common sense, we can withstand the cultural storm and come out stronger and more united on the other side.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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