The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: Independence Day 2020 Edition

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: Independence Day 2020 Edition

2020 is the perfect time to hear again the greatest speech in American history…


At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war–seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

• President Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural (March 4, 1865)

Welcome to the Freedom Cafe!

A lament for the USA, 2020, by David Brooks

We Americans enter the July 4 weekend of 2020 humiliated as almost never before. We had one collective project this year and that was to crush Covid-19, and we failed.

On Wednesday, we had about 50,000 new positive tests, a record. Other nations are beating the disease while our infection lines shoot upward as sharply as they did in March.

This failure will lead to other failures. A third of Americans show signs of clinical anxiety or depression, according to the Census Bureau. Suspected drug overdose deaths surged by 42 percent in May. Small businesses, colleges and community hubs will close.

At least Americans are not in denial about the nation’s turmoil of the last three months. According to a Pew survey, 71 percent of Americans are angry about the state of the country right now and 66 percent are fearful. Only 17 percent are proud.

…What’s the core problem? Damon Linker is on to a piece of it: “It amounts to a refusal on the part of lots of Americans to think in terms of the social whole — of what’s best for the community, of the common or public good. Each of us thinks we know what’s best for ourselves.”

I’d add that this individualism, atomism and selfishness is downstream from a deeper crisis of legitimacy. In 1970, in a moment like our own, Irving Kristol wrote, “In the same way as men cannot for long tolerate a sense of spiritual meaninglessness in their individual lives, so they cannot for long accept a society in which power, privilege, and property are not distributed according to some morally meaningful criteria.”

A lot of people look around at the conditions of this country — how Black Americans are treated, how communities are collapsing, how Washington doesn’t work — and none of it makes sense. None of it inspires faith, confidence. In none of it do they feel a part.

If you don’t breathe the spirit of the nation, if you don’t have a fierce sense of belonging to each other, you’re not going to sacrifice for the common good. We’re confronted with a succession of wicked problems and it turns out we’re not even capable of putting on a friggin’ mask.

Appreciation for “The Black National Anthem”

From NPR: “”Lift Every Voice and Sing” was first written as a poem. Created by James Weldon Johnson, it was performed for the first time by 500 school children in celebration of President Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 in Jacksonville, FL. The poem was set to music by Johnson’s brother, John Rosamond Johnson, and soon adopted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as its official song. Today “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is one of the most cherished songs of the African American Civil Rights Movement and is often referred to as the Black National Anthem.”

This year, it is possible that more people than ever will hear this anthem, because the National Football League has said that “Lift Every Voice and Sing” will be played or performed live before every Week 1 NFL game, as the league considers various ways to recognize victims of systemic racism throughout their season.

God of our weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light
Keep us forever in the path, we pray

What to the Slave, Is the Fourth of July? (Frederick Douglass, 1852)

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.

…Fellow-citizens! I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretence, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad; it corrupts your politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing, and a by word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. It fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement, the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet, you cling to it, as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever!

Members of the Mississippi Honor Guard lower the state flag at the state capitol in Jackson, Mississippi, on July 1, 2020, a day after a bill that would replace the state flag, which includes a Confederate emblem, was signed into law. (Suzi Altman/Reuters)

Not too many personal “4th of July” songs better than this one…

Sandy, the aurora is rising behind us
This pier lights our carnival life forever
Oh, love me tonight and I promise I’ll love you forever…

97 thoughts on “The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: Independence Day 2020 Edition

  1. > I have to admit the diversity of the place has fallen off considerably

    I find this to be true generally. I suspect ‘Social Media’ platforms have collected more and more of people’s online time/engagement; draining away some of the vitality of the BLOG-o-sphere.


  2. . If you do choose to ride off into that bright red sunset

    Like Our Father Below when he walked out of The Enemy’s halls — Screwtape


  3. Nothing says “Let’s celebrate America!” quite like drinking beer and playing with explosives.

    What does a redneck say when he is about to die?
    “Hold my beer and watch this!”
    — Jeff Foxworthy

    (And a little more germane to the “explosives” part…WARNING Heavy Cussing)


  4. Trump wants a ‘Statue garden for American heroes’ but we already have one:

    its called ARLINGTON

    thank God, Trump will never rest there in those hallowed grounds


  5. It is a very splotchy thing. Large chunks of my state, NC, and others such as SC, TX, FL, etc… have many areas where everyone is wearing (at the current mandate in NC says you should) and other areas where a store owner will refuse to let you in if you have one on.

    I have relatives in SC who claim (with a LOT of support on FB) that is is all a liberal conspiracy to gain control of people. So if they win in November they can apply what they have learn to taking guns away. And so on.


  6. thanks for the history on this . . . . no wonder the tribal leaders didn’t want Trump’s show as it is historically tribal land


  7. Mount Rushmore is a transgression on the lands of the Lakota Sioux, ceded to them by treaty in 1868. When gold was discovered in the Black Hills and white settlers moved onto Lakota lands, the Federal government reneged on the treaty and allowed the settlers to stay. In 1980, the US Supreme Court ruled that the land had been taken illegally from the Sioux, and awarded $106,000,000 in compensation. The tribes refused the money, which is still gathering interest, and is estimated to now be around a billion dollars, because they wanted their land back. There was a demonstration yesterday, outside the area where the Trump–rally? event?–was staged. Profaned is the right word, for a lot of reasons.


  8. Rick Ro.,

    That’s easy to counter. Just say this “But at least I can do something, Trump can’t do.” And proceed to drink from a glass with one hand while walking down a ramp at the same time.


  9. I won’t be going anywhere.

    Sixteen years, maybe more, I’ve been posting here, since Michael was part of the Boar’s Head Cafe gang. I have to admit the diversity of the place has fallen off considerably. I miss the participation of voices such as Miguel Ruiz, EricW, MelissaTheRagamuffin, and many others.

    Heaven knows I probably think I’ve run one or two of them myself.


  10. “From the wells of disappointment
    Where the women kneel to pray
    For the grace of God in the desert here
    And the desert far away:
    Democracy is coming to the USA
    Sail on, sail on
    O mighty Ship of State
    To the Shores of Need
    Past the Reefs of Greed
    Through the Squalls of Hate
    Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on . . . . ” (Leonard Cohen)

    November is coming. There will be a reckoning then, TED.


  11. Mt. Rushmore is a NATIONAL monument that belongs to ALL Americans

    to see it profaned that way . . . . there are no words


  12. Sorry Dan but over the last three years I’ve lost all my patience. I don’t see the point anymore of trying to accomodate or make excuses. There is no honorable way to support Donald Trump. If you do then at least have the guts to own it. You’re a part of it so stop playing the misunderstood victim.

    When are you going to wake up?

    I detest the Clintons. They are everything I hate about American politics. I could have gladly supported an honorable Republican in the last election but I wasn’t given that choice. I put aside all my scruples and voted for Hillary, sick at heart, to keep something worse from happening.

    Now all I feel is degraded and ashamed. How could we have put this lout in charge of the day to day operations of our country? Who with any sense of honor would do that? If you’re right, and after the last four years we reelect Trump we will know that something fundamental is broken. If we do reject him then we still bear the shame.

    When are you going to wake up?


  13. I’ve always had the impression that he enjoyed being a fly in the ointment of our liberal utopia.


  14. I take no pleasure in arguing with you, or attributing bad motives to you. I certainly don’t want you to not comment on this blog, or to feel that there is no room for you to do so because I or others are taking up too much space — though I don’t see how that’s possible. If I talk too much here, have you ever considered it’s because it is a necessary outlet for me? I’m not looking for answers by reading a blog all day long, or by commenting all day long, I’m expressing things I have nowhere else to express. I won’t apologize for the content of my comments, you are always free to disagree with me or anyone else, and none of us commenting have any right to a zone free of comments that rankle us or with which we strongly, passionately disagree, but we should be able to disagree without being disagreeable. As things stand, you may be in the minority here with regard to political viewpoint. But, as far as I know, nobody here has told you to shut up or tried to get you blackballed. Outside of the moderator’s discretion, we are free to express what we will, all of us. But we can’t expect to be in the majority, or silence others so that the dialogue is more equally divided between minority and majority views and comments.


  15. Geez, dan, you’re making absolutely no sense. No one has called for you, or Seneca Griggs, or Stbndct, or anyone else to be moderated. You have been engaged by multiple commenters from both sides of the middle. Echo chamber? Hardly. Resorting to calling a group of people self righteous is beneath you. If you do choose to ride off into that bright red sunset, adios amigo!


  16. I would miss senecagriggs if he left, because he had his own opinions which he shared, but he never told people they shouldn’t speak out for those who were being abused


  17. > don’t find it all that “leftist.”

    Your perception is correct.

    It centers, principally, two Historic speeches.

    Also… how does one recognize the celebration of the founding of a Nation State in an purely apolitical manner?
    A Nation State is a 104% political construct.


  18. Naah, he just wants the “self-righteous echo chamber” to be preaching HIS Dogma to HIS choir 24/7.

    “All that is not TRUE is FALSE!” and all that.


  19. “You’re not that guy…”

    “I am that guy.”
    — Amos Burton, The Expanse


  20. A couple counties in TX have hospitals at maximum capacity, and TX happens to be where there are some very vocal groups of anti-maskers, although how many people are involved I have no idea.


  21. Where are people not wearing masks?

    Over half where I am. Today I went outside (suitably masked) on a quest for paper towels within walking distance. Less than half of those I saw on the street were masked. The younger they were, the less likely to be masked.

    Lots of red/white-blue bunting and flags on the older houses on the residential street I went down, with one huge TRUMP! campaign poster filling a window.


  22. Sure you’re not seeing the floodlights on this?

    Incidentally, I just returned from a fruitless quest for paper towels in the local bodegas. While walking to them (masked), I checked how many of those I encountered on the sidewalk were also masked up. Less than half, with a trend towards “the younger, the less masked”. Lots of red/white-blue bunting and flags on the older houses on the residential street in-between, with one huge TRUMP! campaign poster filling a window.


  23. It’s not the posts they object to, but the comments. But the chain started today when senecagriggs announced that he had not commented for a while because he’s decided not to participate in the blog; a few of us had been wondering in the comments a few days ago concerning where he was, and he must’ve read them and was replying to our comments. So I don’t think it was at all linked with CM’s post, or triggered by today’s content.


  24. But, as an anti-Trumper, this site has also been cathartic as a Christian who struggles seeing so many Christian friends hold our POTUS up like a God-head.

    During my time in-country in the Seventies, one of the most common Christianese phrases was “The LORD”, pronounced with all caps (and sometimes multiple “O”s). Nowadays, when a Born-Again Bible-Believing CHRISTIAN(TM) uses the phrase, assume he means Donald Trump until proven otherwise.

    And does anyone else get the impression that any CHRISTIAN(TM) reference to the name of Trump should be followed by the phrase “Praise His Holy Name!”? Truth in Advertising and all that.


  25. I hope there are not too many of these QAnon followers among our military and police.

    Though if they have more than half a brain QAnon followers WOULD be targeting military and police for conversion. Always helps to have the heavy weapons and enforcers loyal to YOUR cause.


  26. –> “Not any opposing perspective”

    You’ve offered opposing perspective quite often… you and Seneca and Stbndct. I think what you’re getting in reaction is that many of us here are so bothered by Trump — he actually causes a visceral reaction within me — that we can’t help but push back on anything that is pro-Trump.

    I have a friend who, whenever he’s with me, is purposefully pro-Trump because he knows it’ll push my buttons. He’s a provoker, just as he sees our President being. Divisive and intentionally provocative… and not “good” provocative.


  27. What I find odd about today’s ramblings is that it has apparently triggered something in our more conservative readers, to the point they’re saying “We’re done with this site,” and I look through the initial post and don’t find it all that political or “leftist.”


  28. The places where there are now the most outbreaks.

    Anecdotally, in western Arizona 2 weeks ago, in one of the grocery stores in a town of 30,000 people, I saw about 5 people wearing masks, other than the store employees.



  29. –> “Nearly everyone where I live is wearing a mask.”

    Your “nearly” says it all. Where aren’t they? Even where most people are!

    My local Fred Meyer used to be about 50-50. Now it’s about 95% wearing. So even in the “nearly everyone” territory you have hold-outs.


  30. –> “Anyone who struggles, anyone who feels like there is something wonderful just over the horizon, anyone who has been disappointed by the chasm between what is promised and what is delivered, will find an echo of his songs in Springsteens’.”

    I guess I’d say that’s the gist of the movie. Make sure you check it out. I think you’ll enjoy it.


  31. > Here all it takes to be considered a “Marxist” is to support some form of national healthcare

    Calling people Extremists is an American a national pass-time. I’ve been called a Marxist and a Trumpist in the same conversation. ¯\_(?)_/¯ Most of our “political” conversations lack sufficient granularity to be productive.


  32. No broken dream is too tawdry, or even criminal, to make Springsteen the songwriter blind to the humanity in the hope it contains, or contained.


  33. dan, I want to understand what you want. Do you want CM to moderate the liberal commenters out of the comment section? Do you not want us to stop making the comments we make? Do you not want your comments and those of others who agree with your general positions contradicted in the replies? What do you want? As it is, it seems to me you are canceling yourself because we wouldn’t cancel ourselves, or the moderator wouldn’t cancel us. Maybe I’m wrong. Could you please explain it to me?


  34. So now the preaching to the choir and the self righteous echo chamber will be absolutely pure in thought. Not any opposing perspective , as all the ignorant are gone, so at least Stephen can be happy. I will be returning to Russia to report and as many here have guessed , I am a Russian bot, named Robbie. I am also a troll living under a bridge at Trump Towers, but many here knew that . I will continue to worship Trump as many here so wisely believe. I am sorry my writing/typing skills did not meet the high standard set here. I did not know how bad the evangelicals were and they deserve the content and scorn represented here. I learned who Jack Chick was and that he still lives in the head of many. So my final prediction, Trump wins in a landslide. Think of the upside , you can blame the evangelicals
    I will close with a quote from 6 grade. It has been real, it has been fun but not real fun. May Trump bless you all.
    FDR and JFK next to fall to mob. Racist and womanizer, have to go. Enjoy each other. Goodbye , hope u all do well in your personal life. I will try to get u some ration cards from Putin .


  35. > I thought there were more than 17% Bible-Believing Evangelical Christians

    No way church attending Evangelicals is more than ~15% of the country. Probably less than 10%.

    Right-wingers who identify as Evangelicals … probably close to 30-35%.


  36. “as an anti-Trumper, this site has also been cathartic as a Christian who struggles seeing so many Christian friends hold our POTUS up like a God-head. Stbndct posted this comment earlier: “I’ve regained my smile once I climbed out of the muck.” That’s how I feel COMING to this site!!! Being with pro-Trump provokers for any length of time makes me sad, depressed, and just plain soiled



  37. Episode 166 of “Pass the Mic” podcast has an excellent reading by Jemar Tisby of Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave, Is the Fourth of July?” speech.

    “Pass the Mic” is a podcast by the The Witness – – they are worth subscribing to.


  38. Hmmm. As I think about the Brooks article I can’t help this occurring to me: “””We’ll still have a cultural elite that knows little about people in red America and daily sends the message that they are illegitimate. … We’re confronted with a succession of wicked problems and it turns out we’re not even capable of putting on a friggin’ mask.”””

    Nearly everyone where I live is wearing a mask. Where are people not wearing masks?


  39. Not just to the working class.

    Anyone who struggles, anyone who feels like there is something wonderful just over the horizon, anyone who has been disappointed by the chasm between what is promised and what is delivered, will find an echo of his songs in Springsteens’.

    And his Sirius FM feeds are like rays of light in these dark days.

    I saw the trailer for your Springsteen-themed movie when I went to see ‘1917’ just before the outbreak.


  40. I knew you would pick that out; it’s part of your sly way of implying things about people without saying it directly to them.


  41. Robert, I’m sorry you feel this way. I am not mad about CM for anything nor have I asked for more moderation. It’s funny you think my line about the meds pertained to you and you only. The only line in mind for you was the last sentence in my paragraph. Have a Happy Fourth !!!


  42. It was a kickoff for Trump Adoration Weekend.

    “I Give Donald Trump Praise and Adoration.”
    — Wondering Eagle’s regular Bible-spouting troll

    71 percent of Americans are angry about the state of the country right now and 66 percent are fearful. Only 17 percent are proud.

    I thought there were more than 17% Bible-Believing Evangelical Christians in the country!
    After all, we’re a CHRISTIAN Nation(TM)!


  43. Yep. When the spirits are moving the opportunities which occur should not be squandered in cynicism.

    Each should do the good they can in whatever time and place in which they find themselves.

    One clear lesson of History is that we will be surprised; we never really know what is possible, who is listening [for good or ill], when the next storm will come, or the current storm break.


  44. Hi, Seneca. First and foremost, glad to hear you are alive and well.

    I find this discussion amusing. My wife always tells me that when she says, “Here’s how I’m feeling,” my immediate response shouldn’t be, “Well, you’re wrong.” So consider me amused by the responses you’ve triggered…LOL.

    I periodically feel the same as you. I’ve even said so in the past. This blog – touted as “Continuing Michael Spencer’s legacy of Jesus-shaped spirituality” — is maybe only 70% that these days. But… and here’s the but… it’s now run by people with different interests, different opinions, different journeys. So my choice is easy: Recognize that it’s not exactly like Michael Spencer would run it and move on, or recognize that it’s not exactly like Michael Spencer would run it and stay. I’ve chosen the latter. Heck, the choice EVERY DAY is easy: If I don’t like the post, the topic… I can SKIP IT and come back tomorrow!

    This is why I almost always try to post on the topics that are primarily spiritual, to make sure that I’m not just speaking into the topics that are further from the legacy of Michael Spencer’s Jesus-shaped spirituality.

    But, as an anti-Trumper, this site has also been cathartic as a Christian who struggles seeing so many Christian friends hold our POTUS up like a God-head. Stbndct posted this comment earlier: “I’ve regained my smile once I climbed out of the muck.” That’s how I feel COMING to this site!!! Being with pro-Trump provokers for any length of time makes me sad, depressed, and just plain soiled.


  45. Stbndct, I do appreciate the fact that you continue to show up and post. It’s always good to get other perspectives. dan and Seneca likewise help me realize there are other viewpoints, other opinions, out there. It helps me to better articulate counterpoints if I continue to disagree.


  46. This is a great comment. If comments tend to press your buttons, don’t read the comments.


  47. I have noticed that the people who continue to call this a political blog (particularly seneca and dan) almost never, if ever, comment on the posts that are solely spiritual in nature, such as the ones you mention were posted this last week.


  48. Bruce Springsteen represents everything I love about this country; especially the resilience and creativity of its people. A grandson of an Italian immigrant with Dutch jonker blood admixed, he endured his father’s mental illness and with immense drive and talent, made a name for himself as a musician and songwriter who could craft hit songs for other artists.

    The fame that came unexpectedly to him as a result of the Born In The USA album (not my favorite – that goes to The River), caused him to go astray briefly. He married a woman he had no business marrying, when everybody saw that his soulmate had been singing backup for him for some time.

    He’s a lapsed Catholic, of course, as are most Catholics of our generation, but he seems to still feel some of it.

    Springsteen has had kind of a tumultuous time since he dragged Courtney Cox on stage to dance with him. He’s passed through fire and ice, and has come through to other side. Guys like him are kind of a gift to us. I miss David Bowie, but Bowie was so English. I miss Leonard Cohen, but he was so Canadian.

    We still have Springsteen. Thank God.


  49. Yesterday (?) a QAnon devotee rammed his vehicle through the gates of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s home, loaded with weapons. He escaped with a rifle into the grounds on foot, but was apprehended unharmed and without further incident after a stand-off with police. He is a reservist in one of the Canadian military services. I hope there are not too many of these QAnon followers among our military and police.


  50. Klasie you’re right of course. It’s all a matter of perspective. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I hear people describe Hillary or Obama as “Leftists”. I suppose the further to the “Right” you are the more “Leftist” the center is going to seem. But these words really have no meaning in the context of American politics. Here all it takes to be considered a “Marxist” is to support some form of national healthcare. And the suggestion that it might be a bad idea to throw your Big Mac wrapper out the window of your car when you finish scarfing it down is considered radical environmentalism.

    Americans are way to ignorant to be truly ideological. I hope everyone reads the article in the Atlantic about QAnon under the RECOMMENDED READING links. Behold the face of true mindlessness.

    El sueño de la razón produce monstrous.
    -Francisco Goya

    ps I feel the need to be explicit. The problem is not conservatism or liberalism. I know thoughtful intelligent conservatives and foolish simple minded liberals. And vice versa. The problem is irrationality. We are all in danger when we fetishize stupidity.


  51. > it’s probably because their own cultural context is far, far more conservative
    > than the national average.



  52. Skipping the comments is an option. There are plenty of sites I read and never look at the comments.


  53. And appreciation for previous political figures including George Bush has been featured here previously.

    Authors get to write what they believe and feel – that’s how it works.


  54. It was a campaign rally, using Air Force jets and a national monument as props. The only thing good about it was his low energy.


  55. For the record, the iMonk writers and most of the commenters are far more conservative than 95% of the people I interact with on a day-to-day basis (here in Massachusetts). Compared to the country as a whole, I’d agree that iMonkers on average skew just slightly left of center. If this feels like a super-liberal site to anyone, it’s probably because their own cultural context is far, far more conservative than the national average.


  56. It’s a very dark comedy. Looking at that garish display, with massive stone monuments and an Air Force One flyover, and the speaker berating this OPPONENTS as “fascist”. Yeah.


  57. > No one can be everything to everybody.


    > That said, politically this blog is not more than a whiff left of centre.

    Agree, Yet to anyone w-a-y over to one end the centre always looks extreme.

    > Eat leaden death, demon…

    When nothing else works.


  58. Yeah, this is not a “Liberal” BLOG and the commentators are not a-buncha-liberals. If it is read as such then the reader’s horizon is very near.

    IMO, this BLOG, and particularly the Ramblings, are these days much kinder-and-gentler in regards to The Evangelical Empire than once upon a time. Perhaps it is perceived that way, or as “more liberal” as the focus has shifted to be less on their STILL ONGOING sexual and fiscal malfeasance to their many other sins.


  59. Agree, this is the good side of Mr. Brooks.

    I’d only disagree with him a bit, and that in his position Mr. Brooks is always seeing and commenting on the caboose, the locomotive is over his horizon.

    Brooks states: “Our fixation on the awfulness of Donald Trump has distracted us from the larger problems and rendered us strangely passive in the face of them.” And I couldn’t disagree more.

    – Nationally we are witnessing the Black Lives Matter movement with may be THE LARGEST POLITICAL MOVEMENT in American history in terms of individual participation. I don’t see how that equals passitivity.

    – Locally in my own community/neighborhood there is nothing like passivity. The neighborhood association which has not yet seen a contested election to the board now has a list of nominees 3x that of the open seats. The board, which has always been small so that quorum would be possible when multiple people do not show up for a meetings, is probably going to expand the number of seats to accommodate the change in the zeitgeist.
    – The list submitted-to-the-record entries at the beginning of City Commission meetings, where letters to the commission from citizens are recorded, goes on and on. When previously it was 3 to 4 entries, typically from a static collection of ~6 authors.

    – If, as I’ve witnesses so many times, some oldster stood up at a public meeting to deliver a racist/classist tirade, I have no idea what would happen. Just a few years ago everyone would quietly sit there waiting for them to sit down as they gleefully ran over their time limit. Honestly, I am kinda looking forward to seeing it happen.


  60. “All right, you primitive screwheads, listen up. See this? This…is my BOOMSTICK! It’s a twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington, S-Mart’s top-of-the-line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That’s right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about $109.95. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That’s right. Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart. YA GOT THAT!?”


  61. No one can be everything to everybody. That said, politically this blog is not more than a whiff left of centre. Remember, American politics as a while has a centre that is, everywhere else, right to well right of centre. In Canada this blog would be a mixture of red Tories and blue liberals.

    However, the more important question is if this blog is very wrong or at least approaching truth on these matters. Tribalism is a fools game. Political or ideological loyalty of for the unscrupulous. I would like to think that we have no qualms being forthright with our struggles, which are all over the place.Spoken as a long time participant. It helps to stand up and look the demons, within and without, in the eye and start punching. Or as Terry Pratchett would have it, commenting on a video game:

    Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil… prayer, fasting, good works and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun. Eat leaden death, demon…

    (metaphorically of course)


  62. So, you’re not unhappy with the blog posts, but with a few of the commenters, me among them; your only unhappiness with CM is that he doesn’t use his moderator power to “cancel” the commenters, or some of their comments, that you’re unhappy with. And you are not alone, there are a few other occasional commenters who have expressed the same thing that you do. I will agree to cut way back on my comments, and make lots of room for you and others. For my part, I’m tired of ad hominen attacks aimed at me, for instance questioning of my mental health, by cancel culture conservatives like you — that’s what I consider depressing and demeaning.


  63. Sen, I agree with you. This blog is basically used by 4-5 people who have nothing better to do all day than post 24/7. I also have grown tired of being depressed every day buy negative comments on everything. I also have decided to practice social distancing from this blog. I’ve regained my smile once I climbed out of the muck. Happy Fourth to everyone. Stay on your meds and live life a litttle. You won’t find the answer reading a blog all day. Peace


  64. I don’t think the posts have been very political, either, although CM has made his extreme disapproval for our president clear and vocal for a long time. I think senecagriggs must be talking about the comment section, the community, but like you, I wonder what has changed his longtime obvious relish in being a conservative gadfly — some have even said a troll on other other blogs, though I really haven’t seen that here — among liberal horses.


  65. Thin patina? Just looking at the front page, we have…

    Two Saturday Ramblings
    A post about “Hamilton” (I suppose a conservative may not like how the musical is done?)
    A post on facemasks (the point of which was that wearing a facemask should NOT be political)
    A repost of Michael Spenser on the ordinariness of Christian Life
    Two posts on the theological concepts of mercy, sacrifice, and uncleanness
    A meditation on the spiritually of Don Quixote
    The scientific basis of free will(!)
    And one post specifically on God and politics

    Now, do a lot of the commentors here lean liberal? Yes. But that is because, as I stated yesterday, we believe that right now, liberalism is closer to the overall biblical model than conservatism is. And we’ve taken pains to prove it.

    I am curious, however, that you appear to be tiring of the debate. You’ve been here for *years* and never slacked off, never budged an inch. You went back to Wartburg Watch numerous times after being moderated/warned off. And now, you’re just “lost interest”? What changed?


  66. Glad you’re okay. Best to you. Be well.

    Question: So now are you only going to frequent conservative political blogs with a thin patina of conservative religiosity?


  67. Dear Internetmonkers

    I’m appreciative that some of you noted my absence. Physically and cognitively, I’m fine. I don’t have Covid19 at this time and though I’m certainly older, there’s no reason to think I’m very vulnerable to the virus other than age. I still play a lot of golf “walking nine.”

    Here’s my assessment of the blog as it now stands.

    Internetmonk has evolved into a liberal political blog with a thin patina of liberal religiosity.

    Because of that, I’ve lost interest.
    While I can’t promise I might not pop up in comments once in awhile, I’ve just lost interest in what the blog has become.

    Best to you all [ particularly Susan and Christianne due to the losses of their husbands ]

    – Sen


  68. If you don’t breathe the spirit of the nation, if you don’t have a fierce sense of belonging to each other, you’re not going to sacrifice for the common good. We’re confronted with a succession of wicked problems and it turns out we’re not even capable of putting on a friggin’ mask.

    Even though I don’t breathe that spirit or have that sense of national belonging I’ll still put “on a friggin'” mask to take care of my neighbor, not because they’re American, but because because they’re my neighbor.


  69. That is some great video of Bruce and the E Street Band! I remember when they were that young, and I was too. And what a great song. I’ll always thing about of it as “Sandy,” though, not “4th of July.” And then there’s the song “Independence Day”, that I’m feeling even more today than I did when I first heard it so many years ago.


  70. Good David Brooks piece this time.

    Happy 4th, everyone. Hopefully our Disunited States of America will become United again…. and soon… and peacefully.


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