How I stay upbeat and optimistic in the era of #fakenews, fake outrage, pathological lying, deceit & other fakery

We are lied to daily by politicians and #fakenews reporters. We are told that we are causing the climate to change, that we are undertaxed, that the Republicans are out to bankrupt us or outright kill us and starve our children. Trump is trying to poison us and make our pharmaceuticals unaffordable. Women are oppressed, except those living in the Middle East. They’ve got it great. Everything is hysteria. We are expected to worry about everything. We are supposed to consume this product and believe that lie and prepare for cataclysms that do not exist. This is the world in which we live.

Jesus is my Savior.

My ultimate hope is in the risen Messiah. Where else am I going to go?

We are told to dwell in the world but not be of the world. And so I live in the world but shut much of it out.

As for the rest, well, how do I stay upbeat and optimistic? Let me tell you.

If you watch #fakenews or follow any of the #fakenews outlets on social media, you’ll soon find yourself a basket case. I don’t follow #fakenews of any sort in any way. I follow only a few people on Twitter, either people I know or other reliable conservatives. I am not on Facebook, for about a thousand reasons. Maybe two thousand. I listen to Rush Limbaugh every day without fail. Every. Single. Day. I get my news regarding the Trump administration directly from President Trump on Twitter. Yes, I trust him not to lie to me every bit as much as I trust the #fakenews media and Democrats to lie to me.

I do not trust in gimmicks or financial gurus or healers. I do not believe that guns kill people or that Islam is the religion of peace or that white males are inherently evil. I am not a racist or a homophobe or an Islamophobe or a xenophobe. Or a misogynist. I do, however, have an almost paralyzing fear of snakes. I am also afraid of heights. These are my only real phobias.

There are only two genders: male and female.

I have certain biases. The only thing different between me and those who say they have no biases is that I admit I have biases. I am intolerant of some things because some things are just plain stupid. The only thing different between me and those who claim tolerance is that I admit I am intolerant of some things.

I can “coexist” only with those who leave me alone.

I am an introvert. If I am plugged in, do not bother me. If I am not plugged in, do not bother me.

Much, if not most of the accusations that fly back-and-forth are examples of projection. If someone accuses me of racism, I just assume that the other person is racist. If someone calls me an idiot, I assume my accuser is an idiot. Accusations tend to reveal much more about the accuser than the accused.

I am not a social justice warrior. I am not a white knight. I love and cherish my wife and simultaneously believe liberal feminism is cancer on women and families. And beta males, but that’s their fault.

My family brings me joy. We look after each other.

I enjoy sports, but only as long as it isn’t politicized. As soon as politics in injected into sports, I turn it off. #boycottNFL

I believe in what I see and hear. I trust myself. I rarely believe what I am told without verifying. When #fakenews manages to squirt through my otherwise impermeable wall, I immediately assume it is a lie…because it most likely is.

I have hobbies that occupy my time when I am not at work or doing things around the house that need to be done. I am an avid runner. I love to run. I am an avid reader, but am very choosy about what I read. I write things occasionally. I listen to copious amounts of music. I also like to cook. I enjoy being outside. Summers spent in the hammock are the best. I occasionally watch a movie. I rarely watch TV.

I am smarter than most of the people who hold public office. I am smarter than the #fakenews reporters who lie to us. If you cannot say this about yourself, then educate yourself until it becomes true. As soon as you become immune to lying politicians and #fakenews reporters, they cease being a threat to you and you then become a threat to them. They’ll hate you for it.

Be the go-to person in your inner circle. Be the one other people turn to for clarification. Explain yourself with confidence and assuredness. Learn to articulate as succinctly as possible.

If I could reduce all this to a simple formula, it would be this: trust Jesus, do what brings you joy, be your own person, stay healthy, educate yourself, shut out those things (and people) who cause you discouragement.

Henry David Thoreau’s encounter with an early feminist

I am currently reading The Heart of Thoreau’s Journals, which is more or less an abridged version of Henry David Thoreau’s complete set of journals he kept during the course of his life. Even though he lived more than a century-and-a-half ago, his observations on life and human beings are quite keen, and there are truths he stumbled upon that are still quite relevant today. (Also, he was an introvert.)

One of my favorite passages thus far is dated December 31, 1851, in which he describes an encounter with what I call an early feminist whom he identifies only as “Mrs. S.” It is quite comical, and still quite relevant today when applied to the more militant liberal feminists we encounter today. I have highlighted my favorite parts of the journal entry.

This night I heard Mrs. S——lecture on womanhood. The most important fact about the lecture was that a woman said it, and in that respect it was suggestive. Went to see her afterward, but the interview added nothing to the previous impression, rather subtracted. She was a woman in the too common sense after all. You had to fire small charges: I did not have a finger in once, for fear of blowing away all her works and so ending the game. You had to substitute courtesy for sense and argument. It requires nothing less than a chivalric feeling to sustain a conversation with a lady. I carried her lecture for her in my pocket wrapped in her handkerchief; my pocket exhales cologne to this moment. The championess of woman’s rights still asks you to be a ladies’ man. I can’t fire a salute, even, for fear some of the guns may be shotted. I had to unshot all the guns in truth’s battery and fire powder and wadding only. Certainly the heart is only for rare occasions; the intellect affords the most unfailing entertainment. It would only do to let her feel the wind of the ball. I fear that to the last woman’s lectures will demand mainly courtesy from man.

President Trump regales Nashville

And I was there. For the first time in 47 years, Lefty saw the President of the United States in person last night when President Trump held a rally at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium.

It was a glorious evening of patriotism, Americanism, and sharing space with others who see things largely the way I do (i.e., the correct way).

My son and I and a friend arrived on the scene at 12:30 p.m., fully six hours before the president was due to speak and three hours before the doors were scheduled to open. By then, I estimate there were perhaps 2,000+ people waiting in a line that stretched along an entire two blocks of James Robertson Parkway and around the corner onto 5th Avenue. It was cold, but the time passed relatively quickly. Even after the doors were opened, the line moved agonizingly slow. We figured the crowd would filter through the security check at a snail’s pace, and we were right.

By the time we finally entered the arena, it was a little after 5 p.m., and even then the seats were only about 10-15% full.

While the crowd slowly assembled, there were speeches from several dignitaries, including Congressmen Scott DesJarlais and Marsha Blackburn. My state senator, the great Mae Beavers, also addressed the crowd. Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers sang a few numbers, Senator Corker spoke briefly (to tepid applause and a smattering of boos), and Lee Greenwood came on to sing his signature song and then introduced the president.

By the time President Trump finally took the stage, it was a few minutes past 7. He spoke for about 45-50 minutes. It was like a sporting event with the speech broken up by applause and various chants (“USA!USA!,” “Lock her up!,” “Build that wall!”) on many occasions.

The Trump speech we heard last night was a near-replica of one of his campaign speeches, with the added benefit of 50+ days of experience in office. The speech centered on repealing & replacing ObamaCare, tax cuts (bigly!), his just-overturned travel ban & judicial overreach, putting America first, building the wall, rebuilding the military and taking care of our veterans. And he absolutely hammered the #fakenews media, which was especially delicious given that the #fakenews gallery was situated right there just a few yards from the stage.

In spite of attempts by the #fakenews media and Democrat Party to cast President Trump and his supporters as being misogynists and anti-women’s rights, there was a sizable plurality of females in the audience, and several pink “Women for Trump” signs were intermingled with all the rest. Oh well. So much for stereotypes.

The event was interrupted by only two protesters, both of whom were promptly ushered out of the arena. They’re really just bugs on a wall. (The #fakenews media typically play up the protesters at Trump rallies, but when you see them in person, you realize how trite, pre-programmed, and inconsequential they really are.)

The start of the event was delayed by more than 30 minutes while we waited for the arena to fill up. Even after President Trump began speaking, there were still probably a couple thousand empty seats. It’s not that there was a dearth of Trump supporters. It’s that security (Secret Service & TSA) was so thorough that they could not process attendees fast enough. (There was a grand total of 5 metal detectors set up.) Even after the event began, as I understand, there were still a few thousand Trump supporters waiting outside.

When it was first announced last week that President Trump would be speaking at Municipal Auditorium, my immediate thought was, “Why not Bridgestone Arena?” Now I know why. Trump could have easily filled the place up, but it would have taken 6+ hours to process that many people. So he opted for the smaller venue.

I’m not sure how many people showed up, but I heard from the local news — for what that’s worth — that some 30-40,000 people ended up competing for 9,700 seats. Even as we approached the doors at 5 p.m., they were still streaming into downtown. I’m not sure where the cutoff was, but my guess is that if you didn’t show up by 1:30 or 2, you didn’t get in.

I had heard that there were going to be several hundred protestors at the event, and maybe more than 1,000. During the several hours I waited in line, I saw maybe two dozen protestors. I understand that many more showed up after we went inside, but the supposed protest seemed very underwhelming, almost disappointing. (Snowflakes are entertaining, if nothing else.)

As we were leaving, there were a few protestors still outside with their adorable signs. One of them read, “This is what trans looks like.” I couldn’t tell if it was a male or female holding the sign. One gentleman walking beside me noted (probably outside the tranny’s earshot), “That’s not what a transmission looks like. I’ve taken out a bunch of those over the years and that’s NOT a transmission.”

At any rate, was it worth standing in line in the near-freezing cold for several hours to experience a 45-50 minute speech by President Trump? Well, that’s not the right question. A better question is, knowing what I know now, would I do it again? And the answer is yes, absolutely I would. President Trump can work an audience. He is a master. He had us in the palm of his hand the entire time. There was never a lapse or a lag, never a moment when I thought, “My gosh, wrap it up already.”

We patriots are all President Trump has. Unlike President Obama, who had both the #fakenews media and political establishment on his side, President Trump is opposed by the #fakenews media, the political establishment, and even some members of his own party. So people like me who showed up last night are his sole support system. He is trying to drain a swamp that is quite resistant to being drained. He is absolutely hated by the #fakenews media and Democrat Party, which is understandable given that the Democrat Party is the largest hate group in America anymore. So it is extremely important for us to show up and let President Trump know that we’ve got his back. He literally gave up a billionaire’s lifestyle to wade through the sewer of American politics. He has already given so much to his country, so I don’t mind standing in line for half a day to lend him my personal support.

I promise you the #fakenews media do not like these rallies. As expected, the Tennessean, known locally as “Pravda-on-the-Cumberland,” has spun the rally into something it absolutely was not. A Trump rally is simply the president’s way of taking his case directly to the people without the media being able to filter it and spin it. They can try to lie about it after the fact, but they cannot lie to the ones of us who were actually there.

That’s part of the reason I’m writing this blog post. You can at least get accurate reporting here by someone who experienced yesterday’s rally and all its trappings first-hand.

The Donald
President Trump and Lee Greenwood
Panorama of an almost-full Municipal Auditorium
#fakenews gallery. This is the belly of the beast, the place where #fakenews was being generated right before our eyes.
Laura Trump addressing the audience
Inside the arena right after we took our seats
The line ahead of me, moving slowly
Line behind me after having rounded the corner onto James Robertson Parkway
Bernie supporter (note the gray pony-tail)
Standing on 5th Avenue at the beginning of a very long wait

Sunday musings with nary a discouraging word

Brett Baier’s new book Three Days in January offers a fabulous insight into the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, who was a very underrated president. I’m not quite halfway through the book and find myself engrossed in this bit of history.

Yesterday, my wife and I dined at Olive Garden to take advantage of the “buy one take one,” where you take a second pasta dish home with you. (And they do not short you on the portions.) We will literally end up spending the entire weekend dining on this indulgence.

My church, the Global Vision Bible Church on Old Lebanon Dirt Rd. (not actually a dirt road) in Mount Juliet, TN is in its 2nd weekend since expanding to 4 services. There is a Saturday night service and three Sunday morning services. This was done to accommodate a burgeoning membership. We seat about 165 at any one time, but will likely welcome in excess of 500 worshippers this weekend. Literally thousands will watch us online. We offer no gimmicks. The attraction is simply our gospel preaching. People are starved for truth anymore, and will flock to wherever they can find it.

Yesterday morning, we received 1.2″ of snow, which was our largest of the winter so far, even though we enjoyed a prolonged warm spell in February and early March that brought out the blooms and buttercups prematurely. The snow was enjoyed by most, but amazingly short-lived. It was completely gone by early afternoon.

In 47 years on this earth, I have never seen any President in person. Lord willing, that will change on Wednesday when President Trump comes to Nashville for a rally. Trump will also visit the Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, which I find to be a nice touch to his visit.

A week ago yesterday, I began running 5K’s for the first time since suffering a torn right calf muscle in late January. Recovery was deliberate and gradual, and I am grateful to be running again. So far I have felt no effects from the injury. I wear a compression sleeve every time I walk or run. I have run four 5K’s now (every other day). My times aren’t great, but my pace is slow on purpose. I can tell I’m somewhat out of shape after not running for so many weeks. My goal is to remaster the 5K (literally make the 5K great again) before extending my miles. I am determined to participate in a half-marathon in Nashville on April 29 (my fourth in as many years). I don’t know that I can get fully trained in time since I’m behind my usual training schedule. But I’m going to run it anyway and do the best I can.

I am thoroughly enjoying my Apple Watch. I went running carrying an iPhone for so long I suddenly don’t know what to do with two empty hands.

When you have an introvert and an extrovert together with no one else present, the extrovert can be contained if the introvert avoids engaging the extrovert, or at least engages minimally. It’s when you add a second extrovert to the equation that the introvert begins to experience troubles (what I call “the tyranny of the extrovert”).

Pet peeves (the non-political ones)

  • People who talk too much and/or too loud.
  • People who laugh too loud. (I’m not against laughter, mind you. I like a funny as much as the next person. It just doesn’t have to be 100 decibels.)
  • Those who wait for a car about to pull out of parking space (and hold up those behind them) when the one two spaces down is empty.
  • School zones.
  • Fat people at the supermarket who drive one of those motorized carts and take up just enough of the aisle where I can’t get by with a shopping cart. (Why aren’t you WALKING?)
  • People I don’t know or don’t know very well who begin sentences that begin with “You should.”
  • Small talk. (This is irks most introverts.) Either ask me the meaning of life or don’t talk to me at all.
  • Those who, as soon as they find out what I do for a living, immediately ask, “Oh, what’s the forecast?”
  • Fast-food workers who ask if I want cheese when I order a hamburger. I don’t eat many of these anymore, but in the rare event I do order a hamburger, they always ask if I want cheese. No, if I wanted cheese, I would have ordered a cheeseburger.
  • Extroverts who tell me, “Why are you so quiet? Is anything the matter?” (Possible comebacks: “Well, why are you so loud?” or “I’d like to talk but I can’t seem to get a word in because you won’t shut up.” or “I’ve taken a strict vow of silence at the monastery.” or “I’m too busy listening to the voices in my head.”)

Thursday musings

As I explained in a blog post a couple of days ago, the mainstream media have equated criticism of their #fakenews with censorship, even though no one is trying to shut them down. The Constitution says that Congress shall pass no laws which abridge a free press. (It does not grant them immunity from criticism, however.) But it also says Congress shall pass no law which prohibits the free exercise of religion. Yet Christians are censored all the time under the badly misinterpreted “separation of church and state.”

Whenever you see the mainstream press run a story on Trump supposedly lying or which suggests his administration is in chaos, know that this is #fakenews. Nearly 100% of the stories run by the mainstream press are fabricated in some way, so they are trying to project their pathological lying onto Trump and also trying to project their own chaos and inner turmoil onto Trump, whose team is running quite smoothly.

President Trump is mischarcterized as a misogynist by the left, but he is doing his best to protect American women from Muslim refugees, who are misogynist. The left opposes President Trump vehemently. The #fakenews media created a lot of political fodder from things Trump supposedly said about women (some of which was contrived), but will at the same time cover up the rape epidemic in Sweden, which is overrun with lawless Muslim refugees.

When you see the crimes and riots being perpetrated in places like Sweden and Paris, know that the Democrat Party wants to import that here. This is not an exaggeration. They know exactly what’s occurring in refugee-plagued Europe, even as they publicly deny it. They want that sort of lawlessness here partly so they can pin the blame on Trump, but also because they thrive on chaos. (Never let a crisis go to waste!)

Whatever a Democrat politician tells you, the opposite is more likely to be true. That’s why I troll Democrat politicians on Twitter from time-to-time. Sometimes I simply illustrate absurdity by being absurd, but other times I’ll take a tweet that is obviously a fabrication and rearrange the words so that their lie becomes truth.

College football season kicks off in a little over six months.

Regardless of your political leanings, if you have a 401(k) that is invested in the stock market, right now you are winning bigly.

If the weather remains springlike for much longer, I am afraid that I will be forced to break my ban on mowing before April 1 for a second year in a row. This is highly disturbing.

The last team to win back-to-back World Series championships was the New York Yankees from 1998-2000.

When I went to college on the G.I. Bill from 1991 to 1994, they gave me $400/month during the school year, or $3,600/year. Between that and working part-time, I graduated with exactly $1,000 of debt, which I quickly paid off. The new post-9/11 G.I. Bill — are you ready for this? — would pay 100% of my tuition at a state school, plus $500/semester for books and supplies, plus — now get this — $1,428/month in housing expenses for 9 months out of the year (if I were going to the University of Memphis). That’s $22,471 in total benefits per year for up to 4 years at UofM. Unbelievable.

First world troubles

A little over a week ago, a spurious $50 charge showed up on my debit card that I had not made. I caught it early, before it had a chance to actually clear. I immediately called the bank, who immediately canceled my debit card and had a new one sent out. This meant I was without a debit card for several days.

How awful.

I had to borrow my wife’s debit card a couple of times to get gas and go to the ATM. And I put hers into my Apple Pay and Wal-Mart Pay apps so I wouldn’t be completely helpless. As it turned out, being without a debit card for a week wasn’t quite the inconvenience I thought it would be, but it was an inconvenience.

Sometimes I have to laugh at myself, and laugh at us as a society. You see, the things we find as inconveniences really aren’t so troubling when you consider the genuine problems others face in less developed regions.

Our “troubles” include things like a low iPhone battery, a television show we wanted to see but can’t get it “on demand,” a low tire, a frigid night when we have to let the water drip, slow (or no) Wifi, and, my favorite, too much food in the refrigerator. (“Oh dear, we’re going to have to eat up all these leftovers before we go shopping again.”)

Seriously, I sometimes get frustrated by these apparent persecutions, too. But then I remind myself I must incredibly blessed if these are the worst things that happen to me from day-to-day.

Forced hiatus

The disagnosis yesterday was a sinus infection. I get those at least twice a year, usually spring and fall. My fall infection was late getting here.  Fortunately I have a little time off from work to recuperate. Needless to say, my running has been suspended for a few days. I really hate this because I’ll go stir crazy soon. I could probably hobble through a run today but I also probably shouldn’t. I just pulled off rare back-to-back 80-mile months in October & November so maybe this is how a 47-year-old body says it needs a break. It’s about to turn cold, too. Maybe this weekend I’ll feel up to running again. I haven’t been forced off the streets since February of last year (gastroenteritis). I’ve been blessed to be injury-free all this time while I’ve watched co-workers who are also runners go down with injuries. So I really have no reason to complain. Thank God (literally) for antibiotics.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of holiness (1 Peter 1:17-21)

We all have the responsibility to be holy because God Himself is holy. He would never require something of us that He did not first embody. We receive every man just as God has accepted us. We will be judged according to our works and not our sins.

There are two types of the judgments: the judgment of the damned and the judgment of the just. We will be required to give an account to God about how we lived our life (our sojourn here).

1. We must have faith that God is our Father, but also have fear that He is our Judge. We are saved by faith; we are not saved by works. We can only gain access to the Father by faith. We should respect and reverence Him. Future judgment ought to be a great motivator for us. We will not be judged for our sin because Jesus has already taken our judgment upon Himself. We have a Savior who will one day be our Judge. If you die without the gospel you will die penniless.

Sometimes we hold on to religious tradition that is passed down from generation to generation, but none of that will save us. Only the blood of Jesus can save us. If you take the blood out of the Bible you take away its divinity. He was the perfect Lamb who provided the perfect sacrifice.

2. Jesus provided for us the ultimate sacrifice so that we may give to Him ultimate surrender. When we live in rebellion to the clear teachings of the Bible, Christian or non-Christian, you are spitting on the Cross of Jesus Christ. He died for us so we could live for Him. We WILL surrender to Him at one time or another. Jesus was foreordained before creation but was manifest in these last times for us. We don’t believe in God without Jesus. If we die in our sin we will eternally live in separation from God.

3. Our hope does not rest in ourselves or in others but totally in who God is. If you want to live a miserable life, put your trust in people instead of God. If you trust in man, you’ll get what a man can do. But if you trust in God, you’ll get what God can do.

Reasons why we trust not in man but in God:

  • Man will change but God never will.
  • Man will lie but God cannot lie.
  • Man will fail but God cannot fail.
  • Man is not always faithful but God always is.
  • Man will quit on you but God is a finisher.
  • Man has limited knowledge but God is omniscient.
  • Man forgets his promises but God always fulfills.

Be the go-to person

If you’re like me, you’re perpetually frustrated by the political system. It’s rigged, the media are rigged, everything is stacked against you. You feel helpless. As a citizen, you only get one vote, but what good does that do? And so you ask yourself what you can do to make a difference.

You could run for office, but who in their right mind would ever run for office and subject himself to that kind of scrutiny?

You could start a blog, and maybe help sway a few undecided minds, but blogging takes work and constant attention, and you might not have the time nor the interest.

The most feasible way you can make a difference is to be the person people go to for political advice. That’s sort of where I find myself. In order to be that person, you have to stay informed on current events. You have to be able to wade through (and guide others through) the morass of mainstream media misinformation. You have to be able to decipher political jargon. And it helps if you know your history, too.

You probably won’t be the person people to go to for political advice if you’re a loudmouth jerk who constantly spouts off and comes across as a know-it-all. You have to be able to articulate your ideas calmly and logically. As for me, I actually rarely engage others in political talk. I let them come to me. This includes family, friends, co-workers, etc. I let them come to me and I try to answer their questions as honestly as I can.

A typical exchange will go like this:

“Do you think Trump is going to win?”

“Yes.”

“But the polls all say Hillary is winning.”

“The polls are meant to depress you. I ignore them until just a few days before Election Day.”

“I sure hope you’re right.”

“I know I’m right. Just trust your instincts. What do you personally see and hear?”

Often, that’s the extent of a political conversation. And I may not even be in a position to change someone’s point of view. Sometimes it’s just about restoring confidence in someone who’s been watching the mainstream press and had his or her confidence shaken.

That’s what you can do. Be the best informed person you know. Be the person people trust to help them sort out fact from fiction. But don’t abuse people’s trust. You can’t just make things up to try and sound smart. You have to know what you’re talking about and be right. And so you have to keep yourself informed and know where to go for accurate information. It’s a position of responsibility more than anything.