Friday, July 06, 2007

Three Years ...

... might just be enough.

Yes, it's true. I've been thinking about this a while, and I think it's time to step back for a time, maybe for good.

I won't bore you with the gory details, but let's just say, it's time to step back. I want to preface what follows by letting you all know that I am not mad, not upset, none of that. I am doing well, actually.

As for why I am stepping back, I will tell you this: There's a lot going on in real life. You know, I have 4 kids, ages 6 to 16 ... a wife of 21 years ... a law practice (allegedly) ... I am a baseball coach, etc., etc. Looking around, I find that most bloggers out here that aren't making money at this don't seem to have the things going on that I do. There's a reason for this. My real life and the goodwill at home call me back.

Yes, real life is real, and really ... that's where life is at. Much of what happens to me that is really noteworthy and life-changing happens out in the real world. But it doesn't and can't get discussed here. That's not a criticism. It's just the nature of the enterprise.

I started this blog three years ago to make a difference, if only in some microscopic way. I don't know if I have made a difference at all, but that was and remains my intent here ... aside from "doodling into the air" whilst living out my passion. I like to write. Still do. To be more accurate, I like writing with a purpose. That won't change.

In this space, I have wanted to do my small part as part of the information war to defend America, our culture, and our way of life. We remain in a great struggle with Militant Islam. And we must win. There is no other option, no negotiated peace to pursue. With each passing day, we see the unfolding horrors of the unmasked face of our jihadi enemies.

Yet, the comfortable, the affluent, the ignorant, and many of our politicians (which tend to be a combination of all three) would rather not be bothered with the foregoing. It is too unpleasant. No, they would rather not be disturbed from their slumber. But we owe it to our countrymen, and indeed to the world, to tell the truth and continue to wake as many as possible ... to prevent the nightmare from becoming reality.

As I have said here a number of times, most recently on Independence Day, freedom can not negotiate with slavery. America's own history shows that forestalling true liberty for all makes conflict inevitable. We don't know yet exactly what "prevailing" will actually look like in this new kind of war. But we'll find out in time. And when we do, then we know the precise direction we must go -- toward complete victory, as we did in WWII.

My uncle the former Marine and Viet Nam vet has told me that he thinks we'll be fighting Militant Muslims in earnest for the next 100 years. I don't know if he's right, but, absent the End of the Age, I am sure he is closer to being right than our Microwaveable-Foreign-Policy Congress is on the subject. So, "stand up, buckle up, and shuffle to the door."

One recurring theme that I written about here is simply this: America is worth defending. It is a special thing to be an American. It doesn't mean we are better than the world. It means we are more blessed than most every one in the world. I hope I have encouraged you to remember this. Ah, America, I do love this nation so. And I love all our friends and people of goodwill everywhere who show this earthly "Shining City" the love and respect that it deserves.

And in defending America, the West, and what we stand for, I would argue that the best way to do this, in spite of the seriousness of the times, is to do it with a smile and with style. That is, we tackle the great issues of the day not only with a purpose, but also with good cheer. Belief is more persuasive and powerful, although more difficult to maintain, than cynicism.

We have also talked about what a "nation" is, and I have argued that a nation is not merely a goverment. Rather, a nation has a government. A nation (any nation) also has a culture and a border. Without any one of the three -- a culture, a government, a border -- then a nation is a nation in name only. In addition to the threat from Militant Islam, we've got challenges at home on all three fronts. The stakes are high in these times.

Please bear in mind that my absence from this cyber-post doesn't mean that I am less committed to defendiing the nation or to the ideas expressed here for the last three years. Quite the contrary, I am as "gung ho" as ever. In fact, I'll be hanging around some of my favorite sites, with a comment or two, from time to time.

I have enjoyed the ride here very much, and I thank every one of you who has stopped by to lurk, comment, argue, agree, or not. It's been great. Thank you all for your time and for your passion for the nation. Time is the most precious resource that any of us has. I thank you for all you invested here. Your comments and contributions here have educated and inspired me, time and again.

I am especially grateful to you regulars. Many of you have contributed to our nation over and above, and yet you continue to go well beyond the call of duty. I won't call you out, but you know who you are. You have my utmost respect, and as a result, my affection. You have reminded me many times over to always believe in the power of a solitary individual who is relentless in the pursuit of what is right. And as one of you told me once, never, never underestimate the importance of your faithful service in whatever has been placed in front of you today. Your efforts this very day matter greatly. Indeed, that's how a culture, a society, a civilization is built ... with one faithful act stacked upon another, and another. Keep pressing on.

As for the future of this blog long term, I honestly don't know now. I will let you know around Christmas ... right here. My plan is to check back on December 21 to let you know.

I suspect it may be hard to stay away, especially with the elections in '08. Right now, though, I am sick of the elections already. I know, it will get important and interesting next year. Looking ahead, I am pulling for Fred to get in soon (officially) and make it fun for us conservatives. If Newt jumps in, it will be double-fun. Maybe they can run together. I already have their campaign theme: "We may be ugly, but we're right."

I am also hoping that my fellow conservatives will do the right thing and decide that, whoever the nominee of the Republican Party may be, we must ensure that the Democrats do not grab the White House in these times. Remember this: The first duty of the federal goverment is national security. Also, there's a real short book in the library that I hope you'll check out entitled, "Debates by Dead People." These are important times, and this fact should unite, not divide us.

Now, you'll note that there is no space for comments below. Why? Well, this reminds me of a funny story. Once, Julie B (a real person, in fact a really nice person who I have really talked to ... albeit on the phone) got huffy because I posted a picture of Pres. Bush without allowing comments. What a hoot! Funny how blogging changes our perspective on real life. It has changed mine, from time to time, too.

The simple truth is that sometimes one makes a judgment that a particular post says enough. Plus, a lot of these blogger farewell deals are just mini-narsco-dramas with all the please-don't-go teary pleas from other bloggers who are plugging their blogs ("Can I have these readers now since dude has given up the ghost?").

If you want to contact me, you can reach me at dcutter-at-gmail-dot-com. I would like to hear from you, and I'll continue to check the email.

From the outset, this blog has been about ideas, and in that spirit, I'd like to leave you with some thoughts, principally related to the subject of living a life that makes a difference and finishing well. So, consider:

We marvel at human creativity, but indeed, there is nothing new under the sun.

Ultimately, the value of what happens in this life is determined by the One whom we will stand before in the next.

The best way to influence the world is focus on "small unit tactics", that is, start with your own family. Work out from there, into your community, and so on. But if you forget what is at home and fail to build from there, you are building your house on sand.

There are very few people in your life whose opinions really matter. One of the keys to a successful life is figuring out who these people are.

If you realize you have fallen in life, don't worry. You've just joined the crowd. Now, get up.

A lot of people along the way to a life that makes a difference get shipwrecked by difficulties. If and when this happens to you, reach out. We weren't made to make it alone in this life. Isolation leads to a loss of perspective, ineffectiveness, and ultimately to death.

Indeed, life is short, but its consequences -- and your soul -- last forever. So, live in light of eternity.

Be bold. In life, defense wins games, but offense wins championships and changes civilizations. A coward dies a thousand deaths.

Life is unfair. So, take some time to thank God that you haven't gotten what you deserve.

True life ... and joy ... are found in serving others. One must die to his own desires to truly live.

If you know something you need to say ... say it, today. "Thank you" is something that can and should be said every day.

Ask yourself: What in the world did I do to deserve being born in the greatest nation in history, with everything that I need, with people who care about me, and with the opportunity to know and serve God? Nothing. Yes, life is unfair, but God is good.

If you are spending more time on the computer than you are talking to your spouse, well, you need to stop blogging, reading blogs, surfing the internet, reading emails, etc., so much. The real thing, yes, a good person worthy of your time and attention, may be right there, maybe in the next room ... maybe in the same room. Don't miss it.

I've studied a lot, and I've learned a lot from a lot of smart people. So, I'll steal the following from a tremendously learned fellow who was asked to name the greatest thing he had learned in all his years of study. It is this: "Jesus loves me, this I know ... for the Bible tells me so."

Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun, except that which flows from the One who created all things new.

Take care.

Semper Fidelis.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday America: Freedom is Still Beautiful ... and Controversial

This Fourth of July finds America at war. There have been a lot of Independence Days like this, though, in our history.

But this year, we note that around the globe, anti-Americanism is high and seems to be on the rise.

Why is this? Some would argue that American foreign policy is to blame.

I have heard from friends who have been both to Europe and the Middle East that the very same argument to defend anti-Americanism is consistently being trotted out -- That is, the world "likes Americans, but they just don't like our government."

However, I think this is a cop out that masks the true feelings of many foreigners expressing anti-American views.

To a certain degree, we understand their point about our government. We Americans don't like our government a lot of the time. Still, we don't care much for burning American flags or the President in effigy, either.

Plus, it's our government.

And unlike much of the world that expresses this disdain for our government, we are our government. We understand that our government is a republic, and we further understand that it doesn't represent us perfectly, or even well, at times. But over time, for better or worse, our government is what we, the American people, want it to be.

Our government is really an extension of us because we are free. We are not as free as perhaps we used to be, and we are certainly not as free as we want to be. But we are free.

And our freedom -- freedom to speak, to write, to worship ... or not, to work, to dream, to protest, and to vote, and to do all of the foregoing without fear -- this is a call to arms to much of the world.

Thus, what the current rise of anti-Americanism really tells us is that freedom is on the decline in the world.

So, we hear the loud voices of the anti-American tide.

But what irony to have the subjects of Muslim autocrats in Saudi Arabia tell us that "They like Americans, just not their government." They speak of us as if we are subjects, like they are. They speak in this way because they are subjects.

In Russia, reports of American warmongering and profiteering are accepted as gospel. Regardless of the facts or the price of gasoline here, they just know that we went to Iraq to steal the oil. Why? The Russian people are ruled by a government that engages in this very thing in spades.

Throughout Europe, the naysaying nieces and nephews of the nanny state wring their hands and deride America for daring to confront the fascists of the 21st century. America's freedom and fight endangers the peace, it seems.

Meanwhile, militant Muslims and their allies worldwide decry the debauchery, excesses and corruption of American society. Yes, freedom produces excesses. But these excesses pale in comparison to societies that are led around by the nose by the likes of Zarqawi, Hussein, Assad, Ahmadinejad, and Bin Laden.

Indeed, tyrants and their subjects never have and never will understand freedom.

Both tyranny and freedom expand and threaten the other's oxygen supply. They war with each other. They must. Always.

America's birth certificate was thus a declaration of war, not just on King George's England but on tyrants in perpetuity.

Therefore, America remains a magnet for criticism worldwide prinicipally because America remains a reminder to the world that a people still dares to live in freedom.

Friends take solace. Foes take heed.

We are America the Controversial, because we are free. We are America the Beautiful.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

On Immigration: Getting Offensive

In the aftermath of last week's defeat of the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" bill (may it rest in pieces, actually, that's a pretty good idea ... start with enforcement), we now ponder what's next.

Lots of people are taking credit, assigning blame (I see it's only Pres. Bush's bill now). Note that we would have never had such a thing take root in the Senate if Harry Reid had not been majority leader, but we need not be disturbed with such trifles as this. Let's let facts be bygones.

This ordeal has me thinking of how we defend ... and how we win.

Defending is easier, and it's not as risky as offense, with its attendant risk of "offending". Deconstruction can be accomplished through a variety of means. But construction is far more difficult, and it requires patience, skill, and plans that account for the various contingencies and obstacles ahead. But when you defend against an attack, a bad argument, a bad strategy ... you don't need to be perfect or sometimes even good. The bad attack often largely does itself in.

In this case, for instance, the proponents of "Comprehensive Reform" overreached in spectacular fashion, seeking to hide from the public the contents of a bill that is fatter than the Bible. Then we found out the whole thing wasn't even written yet. Public skepticism thus reached the boiling point. Then, the "reformers" decried the loyal opposition as bigots, nativists (but wouldn't that make us "Native Americans? and thus good guys?), and the like. Then, we got down to the damning details in the substance of the monstrosity: We learned, not only that Lindsay Graham had zipped up John Kyl in a pod in his Senate Office, but also that the Comprehensive Reformers had little room in their tome for enforcement of the border ... which remains the principal concern of the public on the immigration issue.

All in all, defending this thing was pretty easy, come to think of it. Not to crow and all, but as I recall, I told you it was going nowhere pretty early in the game ... when many others were noting how the sky was falling.

But playing "offense" on immigration reform is going to be much more difficult. Some in the Senate (most notably liberal Demos) have sworn that no "enforcement-only" bills will ever pass Congress. Never mind the fact that this is exactly what an overwhelming majority (in the 70-75% range) wants: Enforce the border and U.S. immigration laws first. Then, we can decide how to handle the illegals who are here.

The opponents of real immigration reform have dug in. They know that defense is easier than offense.

So, what now?

We continue to persuade, to inform, and to educate. We continue to reach out to people who might not agree with us on all issues, but can work with us on the issue at hand. And when appropriate, we remind our elected representatives that we are watching and, though they may not behave like elephants, we have pachyderm-like memories.

In the end, conservatives who want the border enforced are going to have to find some "strange bedfellows" along the way. Want an example? How about labor unions? I have some profound disagreements with labor unions about many things, but I share their skepticism for the creeping internationalism in U.S. business that ignores responsibility to the nation that makes the cash registers ring, or beep, whatever they do now. I am finding myself agreeing with unions more and more regarding their concerns over the disrespect shown to the American worker by American business. This is just an example of a potential ally in this specific fight.

To play offense successfully, we need to find common ground and build coalitions. Hey, I think there's something on the banner of this blog that might speak to this. But I digress ...

So, can we be both winsome and shrewd? I think we can. Ronald Reagan was. Remember the Reagan Democrats? They helped to elect Reagan when the Republicans were a minority party.

Conservatives shouldn't be surprised that they are in the minority, but neither should they be discouraged.

It's not mutually exclusive to be good and smart. Thus, we should be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Last time I'm ever doing one of these things ...

I know such trivialities irks the erudite readers of this blog, so I will do this only this one last time, promise. Here is the deal:

Julie is a big meme fiend, so she "tags" me. Not wanting to be rude, I will answer, and would only do it for a great blog friend like Julie. But I am going to compromise and do it like a leftist ... that is, I will make up my own rules/ignore the rules of the meme.

Here is Julie's post.

To spice up the boring meme and to give it the flair deserving a non-meme doer, erudite type like me, I will post Julie's answers and give answers in the general subject matter of "random facts". Confused? Don't worry, you won't be for long.

Here goes:

Julie: 1. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when JFK was shot.

DC: I was a very young baby when JFK was shot.

Julie: 2. My first paying job was as an exercise jockey at Santa Anita racetrack.

DC: I didn't even know they had fitness centers at the track. I am going to check it out the next time I get down to Sam Houston Park. Okay, I am getting off easy here ... First paying job was when I was 14, working as a handyman/janitor at a local office building.

Julie: 3. Weapon of choice is a 62" longbow.

DC: When confronted with foes wielding large bows, I pull out my .38 and take my chances.

Julie: 4. I work in a cheese factory.

DC: I know what it's like to work at a job that stinks. Actually, I work at a sausage, er, obfuscation ... No, I work in a law office. And I represent truth and justice.

Julie: 5. I translated French documents for ERDA (used to be Atomic Energy Commision) about nuclear reactors.

DC: Oh, my. In honor of new French President Nicolas Sarkozy, I will refrain from a French joke at this time. Let's see ... the most interesting translation work that I have ever done was when I cut grass at a local school district (at an unnamed school district to protect the guilty) with some workers that were, maybe, shall we say "undocumented" way, way back when I was in high school. Since I spoke Spanish, I was the translator/go-between for the Mexican workers and the high school kids working there that summer. Was one of the best jobs I ever had.

Bonus Random Fact(s): I'd wager that I've cut more grass than most of the readers of this here blog. I'm counting three or four summers, full-time, plus a half while I was in law school, plus working while I was in school during the school year. Shoot, cutting grass was the first job I had out of college and I was cutting grass full time when I got married, now that I think of it. And I'm still padding my stats, too. But I don't get paid to do it, any more. Now, it's back to amateur status. You know this reminds me ... There's just some jobs Americans won't do. You know?

Julie: 6. In college I learned how to shoe a horse and scale the brick wall of the men's dorm.

DC: Most exciting thing I have scaled is probably the Confidence Course at Quantico, with a nice, thin layer of ice on it.

Julie: 7. I come from a family of writers. (sadly that doesn't help out this blog)

DC: I come from a family of blue collar people. Neither of my parents finished college. My dad was a traveling salesman for most of his days, until the rise of Wal-Mart. My mother was a bookkeeper and worked for many years managing gas stations for Mobil Oil. She was held up a couple of times and kept on doing it. A couple of guys tried to hold up my dad once, but he had his bat with him (I come from a family of baseball fans, too.) My mother wanted me to become a lawyer. My dad never forgave me for becoming one.

Julie: 8. My new goal is to learn how to joust.

DC: I am not much of a goal-setter, truth be told. But I will tell you this: I stay the heck away from people coming after me on horseback with long poles, or I at least get to a location where I can get a good shot at them. I mean, didn't machine guns, aircraft and the like render such warfare obsolete? But seriously, jousting? Is there a league or what? Speaking of real sports ...

Bonus Random Fact: Saw Houston's Craig Biggio get his 3,000th hit on June 28. Was there in person with my 14-year-old son. Biggio got 5 hits on the night (for only the second time in his 20-year career), and the Astros rallied to win with a walk-off grand slam by Carlos Lee. When we were leaving, my son said it was the most amazing game he'd ever seen. I've been following the Astros since I was about 7, and it was the most amazing game I've ever seen, too.

Okay, the Erudition Light is now turned back "on".