[Originally published May 6, 2016 in Atlanta Times News]
When this Carolina Gamecock lawyer of twenty years launched a second career with an Atlanta Metro newspaper two weeks after 9/11/2001, we first used a famous quote from our fellow Palmetto State native, Andrew Jackson: “One man with courage makes a majority.” Little did I know then how relevant to the history of the first two decades of the 21st Century, would my signature line for thousands of op-ed columns become.
This past week the Obama Administration, in its latest exercise of executive overreach, announced that the hero of the Battle of New Orleans will be replaced on the front of the $20 bill by Harriett Tubman, leader of the slave-liberating “Underground Railroad.”
There have been many great and courageous men and women, famous and anonymous, who have played parts in the exceptional saga of the United States of America. Whispers from the ministry of the er ah office of the Lord er ah, Secretary of the Treasury, are that Jackson may appear on the back of the Twenty among a panoply of civil rights leaders. Of course, we can turn all of the currency into the affirmative action equivalents of tee-ball team portraits in which everyone gets a trophy for showing up. This appears to be the intent of those now in power who emphasize more their grievances against the United States than its greatness.
But if America has been the most exceptional nation in the history of the world, and it has; then shouldn’t prominent displays on the currency, and in national monuments and holidays, be preserved for the figures pivotal to achieving that exceptionalism? I think so.
Harriett Tubman was a heroic figure who helped free hundreds of slaves. The actions of President Abraham Lincoln and General Ulysses S. Grant freed all the slaves, while the latter, as president, attempted a Southern Reconstruction to confer equal rights; hence, the $5 Lincoln, $50 Grant and national holiday for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whose courage produced a Civil Rights Act that enforced the equality guaranteed by the post-Civil War amendments the former figures fought for.
There would have been no exceptional American union for Tubman, Lincoln, Grant and King to preserve and sanctify but for the military and political courage of South Carolina-born Old Hickory, which nickname was conferred by soldiers red, yellow, black and white who served under him when he led them home safely for hundreds of miles after being betrayed by federal government. Yes, Jackson was born into a slave-owning culture similar to millions before him around the world and he denounced a Supreme Court which attempted to deny him the executive authority to relocate defeated enemies exercised by previous presidents.
But if we are going to trash all former slave owners and warriors, then shouldn’t we first tear down the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial? Re-name the District of Columbia, Obamaton and New Orleans, New London? And shouldn’t all those presidents who presided over removals of defeated Indian tribes before Jackson and Martin Van Buren, who afterward, actually presided over the Trail of Tears, also be trashed?
Yes, a Treaty of Ghent had been signed before General Jackson and an amateur army of free blacks, Creek Indians who sided with America against Creek domination of Georgia and Alabama, Tennesseans and Cajuns defeated the greatest military power on earth at New Orleans, even as Washington, D.C. still smoldered from its sacking by the British. But Britain still held Canada and would certainly have kept New Orleans and the Mississippi Rivier, upon which the treaty was silent. Most probably had they held Nawlins and Washington at the time the treaty was delivered, British admirals would have burnt it to light cigars. Andy Jackson spoiled that chance for British High Tea.
But for Jackson, there would have been no heroic Lincoln, Grant or Tubman.
The three popular and electoral (one stolen) election victories by Jackson broke the elitist stranglehold on the presidency. He paid off the national debt and destroyed the corrupt equivalent of The Fed in his day. More importantly, when his vice president in his first term led the nullification/secession movement during his second, President Jackson threatened to make himself general again to lead the union army against he his native state and John C. Calhoun’s nullifiers.
Jackson deemed the U.S. Constitution as having been ratified by “We the People”, not mere states, to form a more perfect “Union” and thus impossible to co-exist with any imagined right of states to secede. Only We the People could do that. He also shared Jefferson and Lincoln’s disdain for an imperial third branch of government as Oligarchs on a Supreme Court meant to interpret, not amend that Constitution.
All have sinned, and one day I pray that those who shout “pro-choice” will be publicly vilified for the millions of innocent babies killed at their behest. We overcame slavery and oppression. Hopefully one day, after bathroom Common Sense is restored, and hopefully without the necessity of a second civil war, we can ensure the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for babies in the womb.
In the meantime, could we please not re-write a false history of those without whom our historic prosperity would have been impossible?
Yes, mass movements and forces greatly influence history, but still…one man or woman with courage can make a majority and an exceptional nation.
DeVine Law is now convinced, (especially after the Trump-Pelosi-Schumer public brouhaha over the demand for rounding-error dollars to fund The Wall aka common sense) that we have a better chance to make America Great Again with Democrats’ in control of the House.
After two years of GOP control, all we got was a tax cut, conservative judges, and a t-shirt. All good, but puny with respect to what was promised and finally doable. Obamacare still requires insurance policies to cover ten maladies that endure sky-high premiums and deductibles for small businesses and most lower and middle income workers. Republicans didn’t fund The Wall nor restrict the rights of illegal aliens.
For the next two years Republicans will get to see Trump win the public policy arguments against Democrats. Of course they shared the same agenda in 2016. It was mostly the same conservative agenda the GOP has advocates for over 15 years. We discovered that a large percentage of alleged conservatives were and are liars and/or cowards.
Losing the house was the fault of the GOP congress failure to keep their promises on repeal of Obamacare, the wall, immigration policy generally…and their failure to aggressively defend Trump against the whole collusion canard and Mueller.
In 2020, Republican candidates for congress will run on a platform promising to pass Trump’s conservative agenda. – Cockstradamus (Last year, our alter ego ended his sabbatical in The Azores since 2012)
Mike DeVine, a certain Carolina Gamecock now roosted atop Stone Mountain of Georgia – “One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and at least 26 fellow GOP senators (a majority of the Republican senate caucus required to make him their leader) just back from a vacation, after 6 months of not doing their sole job to make laws, announced their priorities thusly: Disaster relief, raising the debt ceiling, funding government and barring states frombanning self-driving for cars.
No, disaster relief does not refer to the biggest life-destroying disasters of Obamacare, open borders, free trade absolutism, eliminating the department of education nor
repealing the Endangered Species Act. You know, the things they won votes promising.
Apparently Republicans only recognize acts of God with sad pictures as
The property lost and lives wrecked by mostly ObamaDemocrat Party policies via
Obamacare; wars on coal, the poor, middle class and small business; open borders;
and aid to terror nation states like Iran dwarf the losses from hurricanes. It’s not close.
And one could take pictures of those losses too but Fox News is as lazy as elected
Republicans in D.C.
What gets lost in hurricane aftermaths, are the efforts of nongovernmental rescue and
other efforts. But private citizens can’t repeal and replace Obamacare. We hired
politicians to do that, specifically. But sometime between November 2016 and January
20, 2017, many redefined their job description as joining the Beltway media and
Democrat mob in nitpicking President Trump 24/7/365.
Private individuals and organizations, mostly churches, already did and are doing the
heavy lifting after hurricanes. But by all mean Congress, pass some special money for
the victims so you can pretend you solved a problem.
But, what congress needed to do yesterday and now is pass the laws they promised in
order to get elected which laws address the Bigger-than-Harvey disasters of obamacare
and Obama Democrats policies which have occurred under the Doppler radar.
Instead, they spent much of their first day back from vacation in committee about
self-driving cars which can’t respond to emergencies and are the next step in trying to
turn America into a Europe-like people they can control even if they can’t persuade us to
ditch our cars and ride MARTA everywhere.
Vice President Mike Pence asked what will be the hardest part of rebuilding Texas. Let
a certain Carolina gamecock now roosted atop Stone Mountain of Georgia answer that
question as per Texas and all other parts of the US except for the DC Beltway and
NYC-donor east side:
Getting elected Republicans to repeal Obamacare and other Democrat laws that limit
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
[A.D. 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the tacking of 95 theses upon the Wittenberg Church door by Martin Luther, thus launching the Protestant Reformation. To launch the celebration of this seminal world-changing event, HillbillyPolitics re-publishes our 2009 column marking of the 500th anniversary of fellow reformer, John Calvin’s birth.]
America was born 233 years ago last week with a Declaration of Independence signed in the City of Brotherly Love. Five Hundred years ago Friday a man was born to love God who helped define much of what embodies the independence that has defined the Shining City on a Hill and greatest hope of man on Earth.
John Calvin must be ranked as one of the greatest men of the Second Millennium after the birth of Jesus Christ, and not just for his role in the Protestant Reformation of the Christian Church, though that role alone was monumental.
Clearly, absent the reforms set in motion by Martin Luther’s 95 theses in Germany and Calvin’s Institutes in France, western civilization and its American jewel would likely not have achieved their paramount position in world history.
Contrary to revisionist historians hostile to the Christian Church, the Reformation enabled the Enlightenment from the Dark Ages and Judeo-Christian principles essential to a New World of tolerance and reason. The Church, not secularists, built the university.
Man, not the King, is entitled to the fruits of his labor*
Did Calvin want us to abstain from all material pleasures? He wrote that God “meant not only to provide for necessity but also for delight and good cheer. . . . Has the Lord clothed the flowers with the great beauty that greets our eyes, the sweetness of smell that is wafted upon our nostrils, and yet will it be unlawful for our eyes to be affected by that beauty, or our sense of smell by the sweetness of that odor?” He opposed any doctrine that “deprives us of the lawful fruit of God’s beneficence.”
Liberty under God trumps Church and State
Calvin also opposed doctrines that deprive us of political liberty. His understandings—that God-given laws are superior to those of the state, the king, and any other institution, and that individuals have direct access to the Bible, without dependence on pope or priest—are common now, but compare them to the political and theological theories fashionable before his time. In ancient times, pagan states revered leaders as semi-divine. Those who argued with such bosses were seen as deserving death. In medieval times, the interpretations of church officials often trumped the words of the Bible itself (which few people could read). They identified God’s kingdom on earth with a church monopoly, and hanged, burned, or decapitated some with other ideas.
Separation of Church and State and the Protestant Work Ethic
Calvin and other Reformation leaders, though, separated church and state while emphasizing the importance of believers working to lead the state. Calvin contended that, since God reigns everywhere, His followers should be entrepreneurs in every strategic institution, including government, civil society, commerce, media, law, education, the church, and the arts. This emphasis led directly to what has become known as the “Protestant ethic,” with its unleashing of individual initiative and its emphasis on hard work in purportedly secular areas. Many kinds of labor are equally worthy, Calvin argued, and those in charge of one activity should not dictate to others.
Calvin’s writings also had an implicit anti-statism. Since fundamental law comes from God, obeying the law means obeying God, not necessarily the state. Rebellion against an unlawful state act, led by “lesser magistrates” such as local leaders, is really a justifiable maintenance of true law. One Calvin disciple in 1579 wrote Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos (“Vindication Against Tyrants”), which emphasized the limits of power.
It is a shame that the revolution in Calvin’s France nearly 300 years after his birth threw off respect for Creator endowed rights and that Europe in general has relegated God to equivalence with Zeus.
It is part of the Miracle at Philadelphia that America’s Founding Mothers and Fathers understood that only a moral and religious people could handle the freedom they set in motion that allowed for Independence not only from a King in England, but from the world history of tyranny itself, as TMR’s Pilgrim exclaims:
The Founders knew that ninety-nine percent of the human race had had to live out their lives under tyranny.
My prayer today is that We the People not succumb to the Siren Song of alluring Big Government which would deform Calvin’s reforms reflected in the Statue of Liberty his France gave to the New World.
*All quotes but final quote are from Marvin Olasky
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
Originally published at Redstate.com
The United States Senate, per se, was not created by the Founding Fathers to be THE bulwark against arbitrary executive action nor to prevent rash majoritarian action, i.e. to be Sen. Chuck Schumer’s “saucer to cool the coffee”. And the filibuster is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. In fact, had there not been a hue and cry from small states concerned with retaining sovereignty not granted to the federal government they were creating, America would have a unicameral rather than bicameral legislature.
The Senate came into existence to protect states rights, not to make Ciceros and/or Caesars of individual senators; and even before the Seventeenth Amendment rendered senators little more than representatives of larger districts through popular election, political parties had replaced congressional institutions as the bulwark against irresponsible radical change.
Want to stop radical change in America like good conservatives should? Then win either the White House, the lower People’s House of Representatives or the upper House of Lords, …er ah Senate. Want to enact conservative legislation or repeal liberal legislation? Elect a conservative as Chief Executive and conservative majorities to both houses of the legislative branch; EXCEPT that one must also elect a SUPER majority to the Senate, which hasn’t occurred for the GOP since most of the South was under post-Civil War reconstruction.
The history of the filibuster is not best defined by Strom Thurmond or Rand Paul. Rather, its main contribution to history is to make permanent, liberal legislation enacted by too-frequently-occurring Democrat control of all legislation-enacting branches in Washington, D.C.
President Obama and the Democrats have all the laws they need to turn this country into the dying economic and cultural basket case that is their European model and, quite frankly, probably had all they needed even before Obamacare. For instance, just since Presidents Richard Nixon’s EPA was created and Jimmy Carter’s post-Three Mile Island energy exploration restrictions were promulgated, the Democratic Party has been able (when they didn’t have the House or the Oval Office), thru Senate filibuster rules, to wreak more havoc and economic damage on this country than the Soviet Union or Usama bin Laden could have ever dreamed of. Not to mention the New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society.
Have Republicans spent too much money over the past 40+ years when they have had anything to say about it? Yes, but had entitlement increases not been protected by the filibuster, America would have slouched many fewer miles toward Gomorrah. The filibuster is no friend of any conservative whose goal is to actually reverse the path to destruction that America is on. Yes, it might occasionally prevent the enactment of make-weight puny additions to the welfare/regulatory state or enable individual Republican senate prima dons and donnas to delay the filling of executive positions. And? America’s descent is hardly slowed and will never be reversed if conservatives must always get 60 votes for what it usually only took 51 to enact.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
And yes, today’s federal holiday is still, and always has been, declared in federal law, as Washington’s Birthday, not any so-called amorphous “President’s Day” requiring celebrations of 44 Presidential oath takers:
The following are legal public holidays under federal statute 5 USC 6103:
New Year’s Day, January 1.
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the third Monday in January.
Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February.
Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.
Independence Day, July 4.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.
Veterans Day, November 11.
Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November.
Christmas Day, December 25.
This is the law.
So why do most calendars and so many people refer to this day as “Presidents Day“?
In 1968, Congress passed the Monday Holidays Act, which moved the official observance of Washington’s birthday from Feb. 22 to the third Monday in February. Some Democrats had wanted to change the name of the holiday as well, to Presidents’ Day, in honor of both Lincoln and Washington, but that proposal was rejected by Congress, and the holiday remained officially Washington’s Birthday.
Nevertheless, there was a popular misconception (perpetuated by Democrats, calendar companies and used car dealers) that the day had been officially renamed.
Liberal Democrats have been trashing American history as a tragedy and the Founding Fathers as mere slave owners for the past 40 years.
General George Washington watched thousands fall on the battlefield so that we could ordain and establish self government based on the rule of law as opposed to the tyrannies of the rule of men, whether they be Kings, Despots or Judicial Oligarchs. He nearly lost his life many times leading Revolutionary War battles. As our first President he astounded the world by peacefully giving up power to his successor.
Yet, all the “reformers” care to recall is that he was a slaveowner. Yes, he was a slaveowner, but he fathered a nation that put slavery on the path to destruction and which has freed more of humanity from tyranny than in all of human history. Ironically, many of the so-called reformers that would have us celebrate James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Richard Nixon, also conveniently looked the other way when evaluating the greatest enslavers and murderers of humanity in the Soviet Union and Red China.
The true reformer was the man whose birth we celebrate today. The man who admitted chopping down a cherry tree and went on to chop down the barriers to Liberty so that men could be truly free.
Happy Birthday President Washington!
[Originally published at Redstate.com in 2009.]