A mostly a cathartic exerciseBy: Ted W. BrownOctober 25, 2020
Dear family, friends and former friends, I feel a great need to unburden myself. Why, might you ask?  I am a part of a group of people who are held by many as the cause for the nation’s problems. Yes, I am a voting for Trump. I did not say I agree with his personal morality, manners, or his general decorum. I said, I am voting for him. Before you throw me on the pile of irredeemable deplorables, consider the following, and let my beliefs stand, not a label. Please read to the end………though I believe my narrative is correct, I hope I am wrong. The historical divide of our two parties has always been in agreement of outcome but different ways of achieving it. This has led to political solutions of compromise. Some better than others, but a consensus under the political boundaries of the republic, has been achieved. Today we are faced with an ideology with a clearly diverging vision for America.  Both men running for president have moral failings, Trump, however, is the clear leader in this category. We expect our leaders to exceed us, to set the bar higher for us, they do not.  Perhaps they do exceed us if we were in their shoes. It has been attributed to George Washington, when one of his generals was complaining about the quality and character of men under his command, Washington responded, “since we can not have men as we would like them, we must take them as they are.” That is where I find myself today.  All analogies fall apart at some point, but consider this. Five men are given the job of cutting down a tree, one says, I have a saw, another has an ax. A third suggests we leave it alone, eventually it will fall down, the fourth says we must burn the forest to the ground, for nothing good resides there. The fifth man says there is no tree. Then one man decides other men shall not be permitted to discuss the merits of their plan. There is a good chance a fight might break out.  Can there be a conversation about the methods, or is shutting down dialogue useful? Is canceling helpful? Does a dismissal of the facts even make a conversation possible? Does this drive discussion and resentment underground where is can fester? Are riots accomplishing anything positive? Or do they alienate people? Does speaking out for law and order alienate people? Why is it that our politicians can so easily sacrifice the American people on the altar of political advantage? Where is the press to call both parties to task?  Martin Luther King succeeded because he had virtue on his side, and everyone could see his point, front and center and loud and clear, far better than burning down neighborhoods. So go ahead and burn it down, is this helping your cause? America?   America has been a place where ideas are discussed, debated, and decided where usually the best ideas win. Were you ever convinced against your will? If you were, most likely you are of the same opinion still. Free and open speech is imperative for the preservation of the republic. The exchange of ideas, good and bad, make better policy. 
Who is responsible for this? The Press, by my account and those of a small and growing group of clear thinking liberal democrats would agree. The press has done a disgraceful job of even-handed reporting.  The press is not required to be nice to the president, or his campaign or the challengers: they are not to pick sides, but, sort out the truth. Do people believe they do? I am afraid they may, yet consider this: Does anyone really believe a president can have a record of being 99% wrong? Flipping a coin, one could do better, or doing the opposite would be 99% right. Things do not work that way. Has the role of big tech gotten too big when they censor major news outlets? Is this free and fair reporting? I will not attempt to argue the facts, since today, facts are malleable and consequently no one can agree on them. For the purposes of conversation, lets say what progressives, BLM, and SJW’s espouse is true: white privilege, systemic racism, institutional racism, the founding of our nation was built on slavery, the legacy of slavery created, and the victimhood of people of color, fluidity of gender, reparations, pervasive police brutality, (some version of defund the police), climate change, marginalizing the nuclear and hetero-normative family. 
Let’s say, yes, all of this is true. What is the best way to correct it? If you believe electing Joe Biden will make all this better, and we can all just get back to brunch, you MUST vote for him. Or is a vote for Joe Biden a referendum on the man Donald Trump? If it is the later you are by default opening the door to all manner of progressive policy, and if that is what you want, let me say it again, you have no other choice than to vote for Joe Biden. You should also ask yourself if these problems have been on our shores since 1619, how have they remained invisible during the 8 years of the Obama administration? First and foremost, victimhood, lays the foundation of much of the progressive narrative. Are people victims? Of course, this is true, and has been the case since recorded time. The world is tragic, and people suffer, some more than others, some much more, but does that define you? Is the color of your skin a marker for victim or perpetrator? Some for the most tragic victims have not permitted circumstances to define them, rather, hardship has been the engine to achieve outstanding success. You can prove this to yourself. Which one of us would raise our children inculcating them that they are victims? No way, unless they wish to establish themselves as misguided saviors. Thomas Sowell states “intellectuals give people who have the handicap of poverty the further handicap of a sense of victimhood.” Is it really the best course to create a victim class, or a perpetrator class? I have no issues with people declaring themselves victim or perpetrator, but to institutionalize this practice, I fear has horrible consequences. Well intended “woke” parents inculcate their children that they are perpetrators and sustainers of systematic racism by virtue of their white privilege, imbeds guilt for the crime of whiteness. Somehow, that does not appear it will work out well for these children. Entitlement follows, after all if you are a victim, are you not entitled to special treatment? If that special treatment includes equal opportunity sure, equal outcome, not so much.  Have you ever known an entitled person?  I have, maybe you enjoy their company, I do not. The constant droning of what they expect, how they did not receive what they deserved; demanding their rights and no exercise of responsibilities is draining.  Sadly, they believe each and every word, and the world owes them.  Entitlement is not a rich poor issue, wealthy parents create it, and well meaning activists.  Parents have to live with the ever increasing whining of their offspring, and society has to listen to the ever increasing demands of the entitled.  Entitlement is not going to raise a generation of builders.  Entitled means free. Have we forgotten there is no free lunch? Free does not mean it is without cost it just means someone else will pay for it. Free health care, free college, free child care, welfare, food stamps, corporate subsidies, every dollar given away is a dollar taken from someone. Hear me, I am not saying there should be no safety net for those in need, there should be, and it is up to wise leaders to craft a system to address the needs of the poor. It should not be a system to create a permanent welfare class of generational poverty with few or no incentives to elevate one’s station. A government able to give us everything we want has the power to take anything they want. Just raise taxes, if the person is rich who cares? They have more than enough money to live on, yes, that is true, and even if they live extravagant lifestyles, it is nothing compared to the greater wealth they posses to invest, grow their businesses and create wealth and a better life for millions of Americans. Since when is it the role of our leaders to punish and vilify wealth creators? I saw a bumper sticker that called for outlawing billionaires. A little checking provided a list of countries that have no billionaires. You could move there anytime you want but I doubt you would want to. 
We are all benefactors of men and women becoming wealthy providing innovation, jobs and lower prices. , Apple, Amazon, Target, Netflix, just a few companies, and others you have not, companies that build roads, homes, skyscrapers, airplanes, produce energy that keep you warm, power your car, fossil fuel or electric, develop drugs, grow our food, make our cars, create movies and music. American free enterprise is not perfect, there are winners and losers. Why would someone risk millions to have the fruits of their labor confiscated to a level of disincentive? Apple started in a garage, Amazon likewise started humbly, selling a few books online. If there is no benefit the enterprise goes broke, customers determine the success of the enterprise, not government. You think the government is best suited to make these decisions? Do you not remember Solendra? Businesses need to be kept in check, just like government, there is little restraint on the human capacity to bend to corruption. Competition is one way to keep businesses in check, elections and the press for our government. 
Business given franchise protection of Washington policy is to betray the freedom of capitalism. How is demonizing the wealth creators a good thing? As much as you may dislike it, it is because of them, we enjoy our prosperity. Even George Soros changed the status of his hedge fund to a family office to reduce his tax burden. If Donald Trump paid more federal income taxes than legally required, he is a bad real estate developer. We have transformed the social and economic safety net into a permanent scaffolding of dependence. Nature does not endure, dependent upon unnatural support. Yes, it can be cultivated, and at a point it must make its own way. The same is true for man. The child is nurtured and prepared to leave the home, making their way, able to nurture others, start a family, the social unit of development for millennia. With confidence comes competence. Without such development we are forever stunted and live in a state of dependency. 
A growing number of black Americans are waking up to this phenomenon, and resisting the idea of permanent dependence. Are they being celebrated? No, they are sellouts, betraying their race, becoming the punching bags of progressive politics. Men and women develop dignity, purpose and meaning in their life by achievement, making their way, creating their identity in their accomplishments. This is human nature, working at cross-purposes to this and you build a prison, where its occupants depend on the jailer. Compassion is a wonderful thing and foundational to Christian faith, un-tempered from reason it is debilitating to humanity. The Overton window, what is that you might ask? It is the idea that some things cannot be said even though they are undeniably true because they offend a group. Is this any way to work on a problem? We are not able to articulate the issue because it will offend a group. It was not long ago Don Lemon, CNN commentator, reported six things blacks needed to do to make a better life; today those comments would be labeled racist, even though he is black, they would land him in the Candice Owens, Larry Elders corner betraying their race. Really, you betray your race, if you tell them the truth. There was a time that if someone told you the truth it was a sign of love. Your mother would, a loyal friend would say the hard thing, is not fun. Personally, I would rather gloss over the issue, have fun, but it is not a part of me. Slamming my hand in the car door and saying what I need to say is preferable to living with the duplicity of watching a friend taking a bad path and then witnessing the wreckage.   Solutions, there is no such thing as a solution to the problems that face us. What! There are only trade offs. Can we eliminate automobile deaths? Yes, without a doubt we can reduce the automobile death toll from 38,000 annually to practically zero. How? Reduce the national speed limit to 30 MPH. That is impractical, you are correct, that is why each solution is a trade off. Just remember this when some grand plan is laid out to solve some big problem. Ask yourself what other problem will pop its head up like a whack-a-mole. And oh, you say we can think of all the implications of the solutions we create, that is complete hubris, just do a little research on the minimum wage or banning plastic shopping bags in CA. The unintended consequences of the simplest policy stretch far beyond our ability to project, we are not as smart as we think. You can create all the government programs you want. Indoctrinate everyone with “woke” political discourse. Have social workers intervene in every domestic dispute. Remove every micro aggression from our vocabulary, have mayors, police chiefs, and district attorneys and police of color. You can have all the critical race theory classes. Legislate our country to reflect the exact percentages of racial distribution in every company, team, political body, student body. Give free health care, child care, housing. You can give universal income bringing all to parity to whites and you will never be one step closer to healing racial problems until there are fathers in the home. For us as a country to succeed, race must become nothing, we are making it the only thing. The world would not be a good place if I was in charge. My pragmatism must be balanced with compassion, and this is only possible with people of goodwill, working to craft a solution with acceptable tradeoffs. Intractable positions by people possessed by their ideology make this impossible. Remember the five men given the task to cut down the tree? Unless there is courage to stand up to canceling and censoring, the conversation will never move forward. We, the people, are wiser than those at the helm of government or media think. We can decide for ourselves given the true and honest reporting.  By some indications Joe Biden will be our next president, his liberal progressive allies and agenda would take the country to a place that does not make us better. Could I be wrong? I can only hope so.  RespectfullyTed W. Brown
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About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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