A Little Help for a Great Friend

The first St. Louis Tea Partier was Michelle Moore.  In the annals of the Tea Party movement, the first action was a conference call held February 20, 2009.  The only St. Louisan known to be on that call was Michelle Moore.

Now, Michelle needs our help.  Michelle needs a kidney.  She details everything (in living color) on her blog, A Traditional Life Lived

If you can help—if you can’t point a donor her way—please do.  And if you can’t, prayers are always welcome. 

Pujols or Politics?

I’m torn.

Yesterday, I took part in a demonstration outside Senator Claire McCaskill’s St. Louis office on Delmar.  The future of the republic is important.  We are concerned that Senator McCaskill put her re-election before Missouri jobs by lobbying the DNC to hold its 2012 convention in Charlotte, NC, instead of St. Louis, MO.

Down the road, a group of Cardinals fans held a demonstration outside Busch Stadium.  The future of future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols is important, too.  It appears the Cardinals owners have little interest in resigning Albert.

Both events drew about 25 participants.

If St. Louis is America’s baseball city, and the possible exodus of the greatest ballplayer of our generation draws equally with a tea party event, then is St. Louis also America’s tea party city?

Oh, and the torn part.  The next general election is in November 2012.  Pujols becomes a free agent, effectively, in nine days.  Maybe I should I have been at the stadium yesterday, instead?

How to Carry-On the Pilgrims’ Mission

Conservatism and the Tea Party movement are good for America and good for the world.  Moreover, our beliefs, our theory of government, and our principles are good for people.  All people. Everywhere. Pilgrim's Progress Map

That said, our marketing to date has been spotty at best and atrocious at worst. We don’t sell ourselves well.

By “marketing,” I don’t mean phoniness or deception. Rather, we must advance those ideas that will do the greatest good or avert the gravest harm. And we must advance them in terms and contexts that have meaning and value, not to us, but to the many who are less politically active than we are.

Put another way, we need to do less griping and complaining and more promoting of positive change.

I admit that I’m as guilty as anyone of being faster to complain than to compliment, explain, or promote.  It’s human nature.  Our negative emotion system is at least 3 times more sensitive than our positive one, according to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson.  That make sense, because our negative emotions allow us to flee or fight threats.

But our positive emotions are what make us human.  It’s through our positive emotions that we’re inspired to explore, learn, bond with others, and form communities.

We’ve all learned that the pilgrims left England fleeing religious persecution. Perhaps. But they weren’t fleeing anything when they left Holland 12 years later.  They were moving toward something greater.

When the pilgrims set sail across the Atlantic, they were seeking to explore an exciting new world.  Here are their words written as they prepared to leave Holland for the New World:

…a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.  --William Bradford [source: Mansfield Group]

Bradford talks about moving toward something great, not away from something grave.  The pilgrims travelled with hope despite their understanding that hardship lay ahead.  In fact, if mere animal survival were involved, they would have stayed in England and formed.  That was the safest path. Only human positive emotions could lead people on such a perilous journey. That, and a strong faith in God.

Here’s what I will do to promote positive marketing for our cause.

For the coming year, I will write at least three positive posts for every one negative.  That’s quite a challenge for me.  Like William F. Buckley once said in response to a question about getting ideas for his weekly column, “That’s easy: the world irritates me three times a week.”

I’ll need your help.  Please post a comment or send me an email  (bill.hennessy@stlouisteaparty.com) if you believe I’m failing to live up to my commitment of three positive posts for every negative post.  I need the help.  I’ll forget.

To make it easier on myself, beginning with this post, I plan to write a positive story every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  If I write a negative one, it will be unscheduled, in response to events in the real world.

I ask you to do the same.  Please use the comments on this blog, Facebook, or Twitter, to post ideas that you think will inspire others to work for freedom, to overcome their fears and doubts.

Just as William Bradford’s words of hope inspire the pilgrims, and Ronald Reagan’s vision of a shining City on a Hill inspired us three decades ago, our movement can inspire generations to keep liberty alive.

How to Carry on the Pilgrims’ Mission

Conservatism and the Tea Party movement are good for America and good for the world.  Moreover, our beliefs, our theory of government, and our principles are good for people.  All people. Everywhere. Pilgrims1

That said, our marketing to date has been spotty at best and atrocious at worst. We don’t sell ourselves well.

By “marketing,” I don’t mean phoniness or deception. Rather, we must advance those ideas that will do the greatest good or avert the gravest harm. And we must advance them in terms and contexts that have meaning and value, not to us, but to the many who are less politically active than we are.

Put another way, we need to do less griping and complaining and more promoting of positive change.

I admit that I’m as guilty as anyone of being faster to complain than to compliment, explain, or promote.  It’s human nature.  Our negative emotion system is at least 3 times more sensitive than our positive one, according to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson.  That make sense, because our negative emotions allow us to flee or fight threats. 

But our positive emotions are what make us human.  It’s through our positive emotions that we’re inspired to explore, learn, bond with others, and form communities. 

We’ve all learned that the pilgrims left England fleeing religious persecution. Perhaps. But they weren’t fleeing anything when they left Holland 12 years later.  They were moving toward something greater.

When the pilgrims set sail across the Atlantic, they were seeking to explore an exciting new world.  Here are their words written as they prepared to leave Holland for the New World:

…a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.  --William Bradford [source: Mansfield Group]

Bradford talks about moving toward something great, not away from something grave.  The pilgrims travelled with hope despite their understanding that hardship lay ahead.  In fact, if mere animal survival were involved, they would have stayed in England and formed.  That was the safest path. Only human positive emotions could lead people on such a perilous journey. That, and a strong faith in God.

Here’s what I will do to promote positive marketing for our cause.

For the coming year, I will write at least three positive posts for every one negative.  That’s quite a challenge for me.  Like William F. Buckley once said in response to a question about getting ideas for his weekly column, “That’s easy: the world irritates me three times a week.”

I’ll need your help.  Please post a comment or send me an email  (bill.hennessy@stlouisteaparty.com) if you believe I’m failing to live up to my commitment of three positive posts for every negative post.  I need the help.  I’ll forget.

To make it easier on myself, beginning with this post, I plan to write a positive story every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  If I write a negative one, it will be unscheduled, in response to events in the real world. 

I ask you to do the same.  Please use the comments on this blog, Facebook, or Twitter, to post ideas that you think will inspire others to work for freedom, to overcome their fears and doubts.  

Just as William Bradford’s words of hope inspire the pilgrims, and Ronald Reagan’s vision of a shining City on a Hill inspired us three decades ago, our movement can inspire generations to keep liberty alive. 

I went to a memorial. . . and all I got was this lousy t-shirt *UPDATE* Michelle Malkin Reminds Us of Another Massacre Memorial

Obama Productions Inc.

Garish chic. No other way to describe it.

Where were the Greek columns?  No official sponsors?  Why not GM and Goldman Sachs?

While Obama’s speech was appropriate and well delivered—his best since taking office—the crass and tasteless setting, the shouting and cheering, the lack of dignity and solemnity, will mark this event as an embarrassment to the country and an affront to the families and victims.  Step one of triangulation is admitting that your base is a bunch of wacked out hatemongers.

By way of contrast:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JKIZ7j20EA&w=465&h=260]
Ronald Reagan

No pomp.  No roaring crowds.

Instead of promising safety, Reagan reminded kids of the virtue of daring exploration.  “The future doesn’t belong to the faint-hearted,” he told the children.  “It belongs to the brave.”

Along with my prayers for the wounded, the fallen, and the families of all the victims, I pray that we overcome our fears.

Acting on our fears delays our certain deaths.  But acting on hope lets us live until our last day arrives.

*UPDATE*  Do you remember when President Bush went to Virginia Tech and got a whooping standing O?  Because it didn't happen.  It was dignified.  Michelle Malkin has the video in case the White House needs a lesson in decorum.

Gateway Pundit says Obama distancing himself from the loonies who championed his election.

Just Sad

How sad is the story of the Tucson tragedy. Good people died. Good people grieve.

A little girl, born on 9-11, went on her way to her reward. Too soon. So, so too soon.

Experience says that some survivors will become bitter and angry. That’s sad, too.

Some will become depressed.

All will weep.  Especially the little girl’s daddy.  (I can’t bring myself to write their names—that would make it too personal for me.  Too close.)

I hate to ask you to be sad, but sometimes we must be sad.  Political operatives interrupted the grieving process on Saturday and Sunday.  But we have to grieve.  It’s cathartic and necessary. Grief is an appropriate emotion. Intense, short grief is the best—or least bad—kind. Mild, prolonged grief makes us crazy.

And there’s too much of that in the world as it is, as we’ve learned this weekend.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.

Let the perpetual light shine upon them.

May their souls—and the souls of all the faithful departed—rest in peace.

Amen.

8 Things to Read in 2011

This week last year, I read The 5000 Year Leap.  Good book.  If you haven’t read it, do so. You might learn some interesting things. 

But don’t expect The 5000 Year Leap to change you.  Or history. It won’t. 

Now, if 70 percent of the US population read it, it might make a difference.  Or maybe not. I tend to doubt it, but that’s fodder for a different post.

When tea partiers read books like Glenn Beck’s Common Sense or The 5000 Year Leap, we’re not broadening ourselves—we’re narrowing ourselves. We’re also committing Confirmation Bias: the tendency to search for information that confirms our existing beliefs while ignoring all evidence to the contrary.

In a study, psychologists were exposed to a short set of symptoms and asked to give a preliminary diagnosis.  Then, they were shown another set of symptoms for the same patients and asked to re-evaluate.  All of the psychologists stuck with their original diagnoses—only they increased their certainty of that original diagnosis. 

In other words, they believed that the additional information confirmed their original diagnoses.

The problems:

1.  The original list of symptoms were far too vague for a psychologist to confidently diagnose.

2. The second list contained information intended to contradict the original diagnosis in many cases.

Still, the trained, licensed PhDs saw in the second diagnoses only the information that confirmed their original guesses. 

When conservatives know only the information that supports their view, they tend to look like idiots when confronted with information beyond that narrow scope.  (Trust me—I’ve been the idiot.)

To avoid that embarrassing and destructive situation, learn outside of US political history.  In fact, you probably could go on a US political history diet for one year and still know more about the subject than any 100 liberals combined. 

In 2011, read some things beyond Glenn Beck’s reading list.  Here’s eight ideas to get you started:

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.

Outliers: The Story of Success

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

While some of these books might touch on politics in places, they will introduce many to new ideas that are changing the world around us. 

The intention here is to broaden and build the movement, begin with ourselves.  If the idea of reading outside your comfort zone scares you, then you need to start today. 

Why Don’t We Do Something Else?

arguingYes, I read that.  And I saw that.  And somebody told me about that, too.

I see the ridiculous charges leveled by ignorant bigots against the Tea Party. I hear the slander on MSNBC and CNN.  I know that Ben Jealous and Nancy Pelosi live on lies about you and me the way vampires live on human blood.

I get it.

My immediate urge when I read or hear this nonsense is anger.  I want to sit down and tap out an angry, hurtful response.  And I did a lot of that for two years. 

Here’s what those conversations might look like to the 59 percent of voters who didn’t vote in 2010:

“Tea Partiers are racists!”

“No we’re not!”

“Yes you are.  and you’re divisive!”

“No we’re not.  You are!”

“No we’re not.  You are!”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. And you’re stupid.”

“I know you are, but what am I?”

Or we could do something else.

We could push an agenda of life, liberty, and (especially) the pursuit of happiness.

We could point out that we don’t hate the U.S. Government.  We just don’t trust the people who run it.  It doesn’t really matter who those people are. Temptation knows no rank.  We have given that government enough power and authority through legitimate means that sometimes people in government take even more power and authority through illegitimate means. 

And we could go further.  We could put forth positive ideas that improve people’s lives. For instance, we could replace the failed and corrupt Department of Education and the failed and corrupt school districts with small, community based schools that actually educate kids.

We could help struggling, unemployed people start their own businesses that will someday employ more people rather than borrowing money from China to pay our best people to sit idle.

Over the next year, we can develop specific policy proposals to make people freer, happier, and better off than they are now.  We can show the world how freedom and thrift and industriousness can solve the problems that vex America’s cities and towns. 

In the next year, we can commit to doing something else.  Instead of screaming back at the idiots and liars, we can pursue happiness for ourselves and our communities.  We can make federal programs obsolete.

To do this, though, we have to divert some of our energy and time away from arguing with the idiots. We have let the people see who’s lying and who’s telling the truth.

Christ said that they will know us by our love

Merry Christmas!

The MangerChristmas is the holiday about humility. The humility of the immortal and all powerful and all knowing stooping to become a mere human being.

The humility of God and king to live among the humblest and poorest--a carpenter's son.

The humility of belonging to a race so broken that our Creator sent his only Son to redeem us.

For me, the humblest part of this season is what I'm doing right now.  Flashing through my mind are hundreds of memories of my own rampant lack of humility just from this past year.

Christ's humility--infinitely greater than the combined humility of every human being living and dead--reminds me that the line for heaven will see me at the very end.  If at all.

Humility is a tough thing.  We earn humility, most of us, with pain and suffering.  I get on winning streaks now and then (usually then). It's hard to believe I can do anything wrong during these streaks.  That thinking sets me up for great pain. Which is why I'm reluctant to ask that humble Christ-child to teach me humility.

Humility hurts.  But, ultimately, we can't live without it.

God bless you.

May you have a wonderful Christmas.

2 Ways to Make Christmas Season Happier

Is it better to give or to receive?

Before you answer, let’s look at some of the science behind giving. Then let’s look a little deeper.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson studies the psychology of happiness. About a decade ago, Dr. Fredrickson announced a formula for creating an “upward spiral” of happiness.  In other words, she identified what it takes to have happiness breed happiness.  The formula applies to individuals, families, groups, and even companies.

The baseline formula requires three good experiences to every bad experience.  If three-fourths of your interactions with a spouse are positive, your marriage will last. If less, it will fail.  If your best employees have more than three positive experiences at work for every bad experience, they will stay. Otherwise, they will leave.  Same for your customers.

Once you’ve established that baseline, there are things you can do start the upward spiral.  Yes, you can intentionally drive up the happiness index in your life.  First, though, let’s look at a simple way to get to that 3 to 1 baseline.

Writing down three things you’re grateful for every day, and an account for who or what is responsible, will elevate your happiness, according to several studies.  I heard about these studies from Dr. Shawn Achor who led positive psychology studies at Harvard until very recently.  If you’d like to use a convenient online journal for this, try www.thankfulfor.com.  It even lets you share your gratitude with the world on facebook or twitter if you choose.

The reason writing down gratitudes works to elevate your happiness is because it forces you to be on the lookout for positive experiences.  In other words, there are good things happening to you or around you all the time, but culture and work and school have trained us to ignore good things and look for problems to fix or complain about. 

Write down three things you’re grateful for five days a week for three weeks.  See if you don’t start noticing more and more positive things in your life.

This practice alone, though, probably won’t kick off the upward spiral.  That’s because being kind to others is far more powerful than having kindness done to us.  What’s more important than doing good works, though, is acknowledging them. 

The next step in the upward spiral, then, is to add two acts of kindness to your gratitude journal.  These are two acts of kindness you did for others that day. 

You can see what’s happening here, can’t you?  The gratitude exercises forces you to stop and take note of the good things in your life without ignoring the problems.  The kindness journaling requires that you actually perform two acts of kindness at least five days a week.  (If you want to be a self-serving jerk on weekends, go right ahead.)

The whole exercise takes about three minutes a day.  If you start today and continue these exercises through Christmas, the positive effects will last to Independence Day 2011. That’s according to research that has been replicated by Dr. Martin Seligman of Pennsylvania University’s Positive Psychology department. 

Finally, one of my gratitudes today:  I am thankful that you read my blog and will try this fun and happy exercise. 

Merry Christmas!

Our Disordered Society

Drudge’s headlines about Black Friday 2010 raise disturbing questions about America’s purpose as a nation.

28Nov10 085

We degrade ourselves for deals on crap some puppet-master tells us we cannot live without. In the name of Christ’s birth, we reveal ourselves with headlines like “Craze shoppers stampede,” “Marine stabbed,” “Shopper arrested after packing gun,” “Mall food court placed on lockdown,” “Shopper arrested…raging,” “Police called after thousands rush,” “Woman busted.”

We rush Toys-R-Us doors--angry, armed, and belligerent--because our society is grossly disordered.  And society is nothing but us. 

That should give us all pause.

Let’s stand down from politics for a bit.  Between now and Christmas, let’s examine our relationship to stuff.  In Zen Conservatism I wrote about the dangers of accumulating crap. Physical, emotional, mental, whatever. We need a break.

Let’s set a goal for ourselves and our society: that Black Friday 2011 be a day of happiness and joy. 

What If They Turned Off The Traffic Lights?

A town in England has reduced traffic congestion, pollution, and accidents.  One year after the experiment began, the townspeople gushed over the change in the people and the way they drive. One woman’s commute went from twenty minutes to five. 

How did this happen? 

The town did the opposite of what had always been done.  Instead of adding more traffic lights or signs or spy cameras, they went the other direction. 

They turned off the traffic lights.

Why did turning off the lights make life and traffic better?  Because people had to think.  People had to learn to drive.  People had to pay attention. They had to become and remain aware of what’s happening around them.

“I can’t believe the difference; it’s simply astounding,” says one local woman.

“This is an absolute, absolute pleasure,” said another.

And the women were skeptics.

When we put up signs and signals, people tend to stop thinking.  We surrender our safety to politicians and engineers. We let others decide where we go, when, and how fast. 

We tell ourselves, “this is something the government should do, protecting us from dangerous drivers.”  But the fact is that people drive dangerously with or without signs and signals. When the signals are turned off, driving and walking become safer because drivers and walkers pay more attention to the task at hand.

Watch this video and decide for yourself: would we all be better off with less external control?

Big Journalism’s Big News

It seems impossible that nearly nineteen months have passed since I met Dana Loesch for the first time. 

1018[1] It was on the sidewalk on Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd, 27 February 2010.  Snow flurries drifted and bounced like little kids playing around at a wedding reception.  Two-hundred or so people had already arrived, and Dana brought the cutest little megaphone you’ve ever seen.  With that megaphone, we announced the first St. Louis Tea Party, and 20 people standing directly in front of us hear ever word.  (The rest cheered politely, anyway.)

Today, Dana announced a new step in her meteoric career: Editor-in-Chief at BigJournalism.com.

The rise of Andrew Breitbart’s “Bigs” and the rise of Dana Loesch are good news—mark that, Great News—for movement conservatism and for America.  Hell, it’s great news for liberty and justice, too.  Mostly, though, it’s good new for journalism in America, which has been teetering on the cusp of irrelevancy since Walther Cronkite became a leftist filter of inconvenient facts. 

Dana’s brand of fearless reporting now receives greater, and much deserved, amplification. Bretibart has plugged in the amp on a voice that liberals hate and conservative cheer.  But most importantly, Dana’s voice grasps the hearts and minds of those who’ve felt left out of 21st century—the tea party people. 

Fox News, Al Gore’s Internets, talk radio, and Breitbart’s Bigs had already accelerated the demise of Old Journalism.  Adding Dana Loesch to national scene stamps a firm expiration date on canned liberal news. The Grey Lady is dead . . . long live Dana.

Live Your Why

As we approach the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, it seems we should both honor Rev. King and learn from that speech. 

I can think of no better way to accomplish both goals than to liberally borrow from Simon Sinek’s fantastic blog post about that speech and the importance of living your “why.”

On August 28, 1963, 250,000 people from across the country descended on the Mall in Washington, D.C., to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The organizers didn’t send out 250,000 invitations and there was no Web site to check the date. How did they get a quarter of a million people to show up on the right day at the right time?

Dr. King was not the only person alive during that time who knew what had to change to bring about civil rights in America. He had many ideas about what needed to happen, but so did others. And not all of his ideas were good. He was not a perfect man; he had his complexities.

When I first watched Simon’s TED Talk about the importance of why, I knew immediately I had found the man who understands the Tea Party.  We are different from so many conservative “movements” because of our why.  Though not everyone has articulated that why, we all share it.

But Dr. King was absolute in his conviction. He knew change had to happen in America. His clarity of WHY, his sense of purpose, gave him the strength and energy to continue his fight against often seemingly insurmountable odds. There were others like him who shared his vision of America, but many of them gave up after too many defeats. Defeat is painful. And the ability to continue head-on, day after day, takes something more than knowing what legislation needs to be passed. For civil rights to truly take hold in the country, its organizers had to rally everyone. They may have been able to pass legislation, but they needed more than that, they needed to change a country. Only if they could rally a nation to join the cause, not because they had to, but because they wanted to, could any significant change endure. But no one person can effect lasting change alone. It would take others who believed what King believed.

When Glenn Beck announced that he would be at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate that speech, I was skeptical like many others.  But then I heard Glenn explain his why and I was moved. 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMGpBCllHWs&hl=en_US&fs=1&hl=en]

Back to Simon Sinek and Martin Luther King:

People heard his beliefs and his words touched them deep inside. Those who believed what he believed took that cause and made it their own. And they told people what they believed. And those people told others what they believed. Some organized to get that belief out more efficiently.

And in the summer of 1963, a quarter of a million people showed up to hear Dr. King deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

But how many people showed up for Dr. King?

Zero.

They showed up for themselves. It was what they believed. It was what they saw as an opportunity to help America become a better version of itself. It was they who wanted to live in a country that reflected their own values and beliefs that inspired them to get on a bus to travel for eight hours to stand in the Washington sun in the middle of August to hear Dr. King speak. Being in Washington was simply one of the things they did to prove what they believed. Showing up that day was one of the WHATs to their own WHY. This was a cause and it was their cause.

Ultimately, that’s why people come to Tea Parties.  They don’t come for the hosts or for Martin Luther King or for Thomas Jefferson.  They come because they honor themselves.  They come because they believe they are worthy of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They come because they believe their children should be free of our debt and of Washington’s onerous regulations.

As you look over your calendars, please set aside two important dates:

August 28: Honor America and yourself by watching Glenn Beck or attending his program on the Mall in Washington, DC.

On September 12: Honor America and yourself by attending a Tea Party in St. Louis or Washington or Sacramento

The why is so important, far more important than the tactics.  I know I can get all caught up in minutiae. I worry about dates and admin and paperwork and marketing and locations and images.  That’s fine—someone must.  But when those details drive a wedge between us and our why, they do us no good.  If we don’t project our why in everything we do, then we quickly become cranks who worry more about being busy than about doing good. 

Tea Parties and events like Restoring Honor remind us of why.  It’s important to reflect. 

Priceless! Boy Scouts Boo Bo

I guess this is the Boy Scout Jamboree.  It’s too wonderful to research.

On the big screen, we see The One, The Despot, Barack “Ass Kicker” Obama.

In the foreground, we see and hear Boy Scouts booing and mocking and jeering.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAWsy7VV8oE&hl=en_US&fs=1&hl=en]

 

Part of me wishes the Boy Scouts were more respectful of the President of the United States, no matter who occupies that office. But another part of me believes that Obama is such a disgraceful, un-American anomaly that to disrespect him is to honor the United States.

What do you think? 

Beyond The Dip

I received a couple of phone calls this morning. Maybe because of the primary election in Missouri. Or is the stifling, stale heat of August that drove the calls?  Either way, I believe the calls represent very good news. 

We survived The Dip (Godin, 2007).

Back in April, I sensed a dip in the burgeoning grassroots movement.  By June 1, my suspicions were confirmed and I blogged about The Dip.

The Dip is resistance, according to writer Steven Pressfield.  If you quit now, no one can criticize you. You won’t be embarrassed.  Hell, after the past fifteen months, walking away from grassroots stuff will give you more time than you’ve ever imagined.  You can fix up your house, take a long vacation, read that stack of books that you’ve assembled but haven’t cracked.  You’ll be able to learn a new language and grow your own organic vegetables.  Maybe you’ll take up knitting or quilting to scrap-booking.

I was hoping that the cooler weather of September and the massive Tea Party in St. Louis on 9-12 would pull us out of The Dip.  I still hope that. But we seem to be pulling out already.

Those calls I received today should give you great hope. They came from folks who were very active in 2009, but who wandered back to their own lives in 2010. As I said in my original blog, no one can blame them.  We barely had time to breathe before this tea party thing started. 

But they’re back.  The patriots who needed a breather are refreshed and are returning to the battle.  They’re tanned, rested, and ready. They’re here to soldier on with us, to their energy when ours fades.  They are indispensible, and we should thank them for recharging.

More importantly, they will provide some of the 1,000+ Block Captains and Liberty Evangelists we are calling on now for the largest conservative voter drive in St. Louis history.  From St. Charles to St. Genevieve, we’ll channel our energy to overwhelming Congress on November 2.

That will be the peak of our post-Dip surge, the election on November 2.

So if you hear new names in the coming months—if you recognize old friends from Tea Parties of 2009—warmly welcome them back. And thank them for bringing us fresh energy.

We’re climbing the hill to the summit, now, and that’s a tough climb.  But it’s a climb.  The graph slopes up to the right.  Our ALICE packs are heavy, but our neighbors will help us.

Nothing can stop us now.

We survived The Dip.

Who Wronged Shirley Sherrod?

To no one’s surprise, leftist idiots and hate-mongers like David Frum, Keith Olbermann, and the staff of CNN point their crooked, hostile fingers toward Andrew Breitbart as the cause of Shirley Sherrod’s pain. That’s like blaming Ron Howard for the problems on board Apollo 13. 

What Breitbart and Big Government did regarding Ms. Sherrod was identical to what every television news program does every day of the week. They produced a news story based on information reasonably available to them. 

Unlike the paid liars and libelists at MediaMatters, ThinkProgress, and MSNBC, Breitbart’s journalistic integrity was close to perfect in the Sherrod story. 

  • Facts were correct
  • Persons were properly identified
  • Video and words were propoerty attributed

Further, the tale of redemption part of the speech was absent from the video Breitbart received.  We all wish he’d received the whole video. But he didn’t. He honestly believed he had the whole story, and he ran with it. 

The accusations against Breitbart, including those leveled by Shirley Sherrod herself, are shameful and unsubstantiated. They reveal the despair of a dying ideology, not the considered judgment of reasonable men and women.

Andrew Breitbart accurately demonstrated with that video the NAACP’s overt racism. That’s why Olbermann and Frum are angry: Andrew let us in on the truth.

But Shirley Sherrod was wronged.  She was wronged by Barack Obama, the hyper-racial President who has worked overtime to create racial hostilities. She was wronged by Ben Jealous and the participants of the NAACP’s recent convention whose malicious and bigoted lies about Tea Party attendees demanded Breitbart’s (and others) search for truth.  She was wronged by the White House staff’s paranoid fear of the power of Glenn Beck and Fox News.

Mostly, though Shirley Sherrod was wronged by a lifetime of miseducation. Her entire worldview was formed from a pack of lies—lies that all of hear every day, but only some of us are lucky enough to see for what they are.

The public schools, the racist faculties of most American universities, the press, the destructive parasites of the Civil Rights Industry conspire to convince good people like Ms. Sherrod that they are incapable of making it on their own. Over her lifetime, Ms. Sherrod has been pummeled with lies that resulted in a contempt for whites from which she’s happily extracted herself. But she has not overcome the false teachings that others owe her happiness and money.

Let’s pray that Ms. Sherrod will have an epiphany that frees her from hatred of achievement just as she’s been liberated from her former contempt for white people.

Innocent Victims

When the NAACP’s Ben Jealous fired a reckless volley at the Tea Party, he missed his marked and struck an innocent woman.

One week ago tonight, the news cycle was alive with the excitement of a heavyweight fight.  The NAACP’s Ben Jealous needed to raise money and restore a sagging membership. He decided to pick a fight with the Tea Party. 

On Monday, the NAACP leaked a resolution to the Kansas City Star that stated:

The resolution . . . calls upon “all people of good will to repudiate the racism of the Tea Parties, and to stand in opposition to its drive to push our country back to the pre-civil rights era. [emphasis added]”

By painting as ‘racist’ the 20 million people who have attended a Tea Party event, the NAACP forced the hand of Tea Party organizers. That response came from the St. Louis Tea Party with a resolution condeming the NAACP for lowering itself into the gutter.

The fight continued into the Sunday talk shows.  The NAACP backtracked, softened its resolution, and softened its rhetoric in the wake of criticism.  At times, Ben Jealous even tried to claim he’d never said what he’d said.

Then on Monday, video emerged of a USDA bureaucrat, Shirley Sherrod, addressing an NAACP meeting. In the video, Sherrod talked about withholding information and assistance from farmer because the farmer was white. The audience approved.  The woman was forced to resign under pressure from the White House. The NAACP denounced Sherrod’s blatant racism.

But that was only half the story.

If anyone had bothered to watch the whole tape (over 40 minutes long), they’d have learned Sherrod’s story was a story of redemption.

Shirley ended up going above and beyond to help the farmer save his farm.  She got over his whiteness and helped his humanity. Though she tells her story in subtle tones, it is a rich story of transformation.

Starting fights is easy.  I’ve done it myself. But the consequences are often far worse than intended. The suffering rarely limits itself to the combatants. There’s always collateral damage. 

Perhaps the best thing to come from Ben Jealous’s recklessness was  not a discussion of race, which I believe we have too many of. The lesson here is: be very careful before throwing the first stone, because you have no idea who it will strike.

I said nasty things about Shirley Sherrod yesterday online. I hope no one read them, but I know that’s a false hope. I am sorry.  I should have waited for all of the facts, but I did not.  Shame on me.

Take an hour and listen.  You may not agree with everything Shirley says. That’s okay. But I don’t think you’ll be able to avoid the conclusion that is a good woman trying to do the Lord’s work the best she can with the life she’s given. That’s about as American as you get.

UPDATE:  Or maybe not. Dan Riehl thinks I’m being a softy. Is she a Marxist and an unrepentant racist? I’ve been too willing to see the best in people before.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9NcCa_KjXk&hl=en]

Dana Loesch has more. She points out that Sherrod calls out the NAACP for starting a fight where none was needed. But also points out that the “post-racial” Obama has intentionally fomented racial mistrust that has fostered this nasty environment. 

Darin Morley: “Fifty years ago we were segregated by law. Today, we're segregated by our own choices.”

I Just Joined Conservative TV Online. Will You?

For the past seventeen months, Alex Rife has covered the conservative movement with the highest quality video available. His work even got me on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. For Alex to continue his video apostolate, he needs our help.

I just joined his network for $5 a month.  I hope you will, too.  Today.

Alex has invested thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of his time in our mission. He has travelled to Washington, DC, and to every corner of Missouri and Illinois to make sure we leave the world a detailed record of our amazing movement.

But I just learned that Alex relies on us, the people, to continue his operation.  That’s why I signed up for $5 a month as soon as I got home from the Prop C Lit Drop in South St. Louis today.

For just a monthly donation of $1, $5, or $10—or a one-time donation—you can help Alex continue his noble work.

Please do it now. Click this link to donate or subscribe. It will  take less than a minute to subscribe to ConservativeTVOnline.com.  You will feel better about yourself for having helped. Please do this right now, because if you don’t do it now, you never will.

Please comment below after you’ve joined. Let’s build some momentum for Alex and his family.

Thank you. I’ll leave you with Alex’s video from the 2nd Amendment in Washington earlier this year.

http://www.conservativetvonline.com/player.swf

Thanks again.

849 Reasons You’ll Never Succeed

Major General Stephen Layfield, the reviewing officer at the Navy’s June 11 Boot Camp Graduation, introduced my son, AT Jack Hennessy, and 848 of Jack’s fellow sailors to America's enemies. He mocked at our enemies’ plots to destroy America, pointing out that before him stood “eight hundred and forty-nine reasons why you’ll never succeed.”

The crowd of about 4,000 roared. The sailors, in ranks, could not even clap. But I’m sure they smiled.

Graduations are held in a huge field house at Great Lakes because of the unpredictable weather.  My son, Patrick, and I sat in the in balcony of the auditorium.  Below us was a sea of white Navy jumpers and a fine example of America’s future.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTbyQ2A5l58&hl=en]

My son is now a full-fledged sailor.  He’s in Pensacola for Aviation Technician Class A School.  From there, he’ll come home on leave before continuing with Class C School, then onto an air squadron.

Our enemies have 849 new reasons to hide in caves. And I have one more reason to be annoyingly proud of my son Jack.

 JackGraduationDay

Thanks to everyone who’s written and called to found out Jack’s doing.  He appreciates your thoughts and prayers.