Kenney: Men Have Forgotten God
“More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’ ” -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1983 Templeton Address
There is some hope in the sense that no one seems to want to take credit for what happened at the U.S. Capitol this Wednesday.
That’s just about where the hope stops.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first and foremost. These fair-weather revolutionaries that stormed the U.S. Capitol building are not heroes. They’re not even villains. They’re boring.
Therefore, in the spirit of non-boredom, I won’t bore you with further pseudo-insightful pieces full of pabulum.
A few things do need to be said.
For starters? These people were not patriots; the Democrats turned a blind eye to violence all summer long; Republicans are now at a decision point as to whether this movement deserves a place at our table.
The violence against law enforcement personnel? Inexcusable.
Congressman Tim Ryan just told reporters that as many as 60 Capitol Police officers were injured, including 15 hospitalized and one in critical condition. Many were hit in the head with lead pipes, he said.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) January 7, 2021
Too many people are substituting meaning in life with secular religions rather than sacred ones. Deep down some people really are that shallow.
One last thought.
Fighting for its own sake? Boring.
Too many people have traded their conservatism for copper; their souls for bronze. For fear of what? Our own base? Patrick Ruffini with Echelon Insights asked this question of Republican voters in November. The answer?
One can look at this one of two ways.
First, one could attempt to become Trump-lite. This would be the easiest — and laziest — solution. It is also damn near impossible, because there is only one person who can cobble together Trump’s coalition (HINT: his last name is Trump).
Second and perhaps harder, one could choose instead to fight for what you believe in.
Now for those who are wondering which of these three columns is more important? Here’s your clue:
The problem for conservatives isn’t that they aren’t “like Trump” but rather that they don’t fight for what they say they believe.
Listen to how State Senator Amanda Chase (I-Chesterfield) attacks conservatives day in and day out. “At least she fights” is what one hears constantly as she packs her firearm and totes her Bible.
Problem is, carrying a firearm or a Bible doesn’t mean you’re particularly intimate with either. For Chase, they’re props — not for a fickle public, but for a public so thirsty for leadership they will follow the likes of Chase to get it.
For conservatives who worry about Amanda Chase and what she represents, her support isn’t broad; her base isn’t deep. Again, deep down she’s really that shallow (and she’s afraid of it, too).
But it will remain as such so long as current Republican leadership — elected and otherwise — continue to allow her unfettered and unchallenged access to the base.
In short, when you hear “at least she fights” it’s not a criticism.
IT IS AN INVITATION TO GIVE VOTERS SOMETHING BETTER.
Let’s face it. Amanda Chase isn’t just reckless. She’s boring because she’s vulgar.
In 1954, Edward Murrow spoke to the nation during a similar era and during a similar time, when Senator Eugene McCarthy (R-WI) was accusing just about everything that moved of communism.
Whittaker Chambers — who ultimately was right about Alger Hiss and exposed the depth of Communist infiltration into American government — did the lion’s share of the work. Yet as McCarthy started running out of communists to prosecute, he expanded his reach too far.
Murrow put a stop to it with one statement of fact:
Conservatives discovered a red line this week. Our U.S. Capitol was sacked by a tribe of vandals — nothing more or less. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has denounced it, virtually every Republican has denounced it, and this evening President Donald J. Trump denounced it (which hasn’t pleased many who attended this week’s rally):
Ben Colling @oneunderscore__ tweeted on January 8, 2021: Extremist forums like TheDonald/4chan are turning on the president after that video. They’re extremely upset at him, Lin Wood, and Q. This appears to be the moment they realized there was no grand plan to win back the election. This may not be permanent, but they feel betrayed.
Unfortunately, some in Virginia Republican circles chose to praise them as “patriots” or even contest that it was Antifa — not MAGA — that did it.
Here’s a pro-tip for folks who don’t think these voices speak for the rest of us:
Conservatives can fight, too.
This week, you’re seeing that middle conservative third combine with more policy-oriented Republicans to finally stand up to the other third exercising the heckler’s veto for far too long.
Either way, if 1/2 of 1/3 of the party wants to continue to defend the indefensible? Have at it. The other 5/6 of the party is more than happy to build the future while the rest squabble over the past.
Place not your trust in princes.
That — at least— is what a once noble and grand party would have easily recognized as sage and sacred advice against the boring and the vulgar.
At least, in a time where we remembered God rather than replaced Him with easily malleable politicians. At least, in a time where politicians were more willing to be carried out on their shield rather than bend the knee for the sake of survival.
At least back then we fought. When we remembered God, that is.
Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.