Mountain Snail

Stuff Ballard Wrote

Author: Durwood (page 1 of 21)

Abortion & enabling

News-Record & Sentinel, April 2017

I know it’s never a good idea to second-guess God, but I can’t help wondering if there couldn’t have been a better plan for humans to have children – one that doesn’t involve sex.

Better to let sex be the wonderful, intimate act and let getting pregnant happen another way.  Then, people would have children when they want children.  Then, too, women wouldn’t need to have abortions.

Yes, I said need to have abortions. 

I believe that.  I am not casual in my view of abortion.  Abortions are terrible.  They do take life.  So many women are traumatized by the experience.  I don’t consider myself “pro-choice” because that word sounds too flippant. 

But a woman should not be forced to bring a life into a world where the child is not wanted, where he will suffer dysfunction and have no support and guidance for life.  It’s cruelty.

Thousands of people in North Carolina, hundreds in Madison County, strongly disagree with me.  They want abortion banned by law.  They really want it banned.  Abortion is the most important social and political issue there is. 

I’m fine with that.  I always try to have a spacious spirit that respects other people’s views that are different from mine.

But the abortion issue is different, very different.  It’s not like doing yardwork on the Lord’s Day (which I don’t do out of respect for my neighbors).  It’s not like capital punishment or nuclear power, where I disagree with liberals.

It’s different because people for whom abortion is most important vote for anti-abortion candidates, even if the candidate knosw little or nothing about the people’s needs – like our Michele Presnell.

Everybody reading this opinion page is well-informed.  They know that the GOP majorities in Raleigh run the General Assembly more like a crime syndicate than a real state legislature.  They know about the Berger-Moore Family’s “legislative coup” last December against the incoming Democratic governor.   And before that, they saw all the underworld-style stunts:  rushed-up special sessions, ambush agendas, late-night votes and parliamentary bullying. 

GOP leadership is obsessed with staying in power at all costs.  They don’t engage in the great legislative deeds that made North Carolina a bright light in the South for decades.  And the puppets like Presnell are the Family’s foot soldiers.  They vote like they’re told to vote.  They’re enablers.  

That’s where I am.  When I see a headline from Raleigh about another Republican outrage, I grind my teeth and think:  Michele Presnell helped with that!  And I wish crazy things like a redesign of human procreation.  

The enablers do nothing, collect their $14,000 and promise when they come home that they’ll vote against abortion – if the issue ever comes up – and they do strange things like making school boards partisan.  

I would really hope that many who vote strictly Republican on abortion grounds will open your windows to a candidate who will grow calluses working for us.  I think we all know that the days ahead will require some serious problem-solving.

Don’t whine, vote better

Citizen-Times, October 2012

Two remarkable guest columns appeared opposite one another on your Sunday (October 7) opinion pages.  And opposites they were.

One was Tom Swift’s magnificent piece that took us into his decision process about whether to live or die.  The other was by Roger Aiken, bemoaning how our political leaders aren’t rushing to solve problems and how political parties aren’t working together.  Well, they aren’t.  Everybody knows that.  Everybody hates it.  I’m reminded of the beauty pageant contestant whose wish is for world peace.  Me, too.  

Anybody reading the opinion page knows about Republican obstructionism since Barack Obama’s inauguration.  Then the Tea Party elected Republicans in 2010 committed to no-compromise.   

What’s ahead?  More and worse.  In the GOP Senate primary in Indiana, for example, the Tea Party beat a giant of U.S. foreign policy, Richard Lugar, because he worked with Democrats.  The Tea Party guy said afterward, in effect, that compromise is when Democrats agree with everything Republicans want.   

Aiken meant well, but I’m really tired of people saying “the government” gets nothing done ─ who then continue to elect no-compromise people to Congress.

Want to solve our problems?  Elect people who promise to solve problems.  Like Patsy Keever and Hayden Rogers.

Fascists never can or will compromise as I will prosecute in detail later but Joseph Goebbels wrote in his memoirs as he defined the nature of the revolutionary in 1945 as Germany faced defeat:

“[I]n common with all fascists, had always condemned half-measures as typically bourgeois and anti-revolutionary…now defined as ‘revolutionary’ those who would accept no compromise in scorched earth policy…”

So…why?  The cynical answer is that American politics has always been that way, with few periods of cooperation. 

1966 again in 2016?

March, 2016

What do you get when you cross a recurring nightmare and déjà vu?

Lester Trump?  Donald Maddox?

TV news features Triumphant Trump , GOP’s #NeverTrump, and smirks about Trump the Chump in November. 

Watching one night, I got a freaky feeling of familiarity.  I said out loud, “1966.  It’s 1966 all over again.”

I was in Georgia that year, when stars crossed and uncrossed in the race for governor.  It was something unique in our history – so far. 

Candidates in the 1966 Democratic primary were former governor Ellis Anall, segregationist Lester Maddox and an obscure state senator named Jimmy Carter.  Arnall was the strong favorite.

Maddox was famous for defying federal courts, turning away blacks from his Pickrick Restaurant.  One time, with customers and employees, he chased blacks away with ax handles.  Atlanta newspapers caricatured him as a buffoon.  In national media, he was “a backwoods demagogue out in the boondocks” (Newsweek).  

Republicans had a strong candidate in U.S. Representative Howard “Bo” Callaway.  They had no primary, so thousands of Republicans crossed over to the open Democratic primary and voted for Maddox, whom they saw as a pushover opponent for Callaway.

In the primary, Arnall got 30 percent; Maddox, 24 percent; Carter, 21 percent.  The Republican pick-our-opponent tactic gave Maddox the edge over Carter.  Nobody got the required 40 percent, so Arnall and Maddox met in a runoff.  Arnall was so confident he didn’t campaign ahead of the runoff.  And once again, Republicans crossed over to vote for Maddox.

Maddox didn’t need the GOP this time.  He crushed Arnall, 54 percent to 46 percent.  He was the Democratic nominee for governor.

In victory, Maddox said that President Johnson had been “the best campaign manager I’ve got,” referring to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

Moderate Democrats reacted to Arnall’s defeat by launching a write-in campaign for him in the general election.  It was a full-scale effort, equivalent to a third-party campaign. 

In the campaign that followed, Maddox trashed the federal government and ridiculed Republican U.S. Congressman Callaway as a modern-day General Sherman. 

In the general election, Callaway topped Maddox in the popular vote but lacked a majority, thanks to 52,000 write-ins for Arnall.  Under Georgia law, the state legislature decided between the top two candidates.  Arnall was excluded, and the legislature was almost entirely Democrat.  Maddox became governor.

Nobody took Lester Maddox seriously – except the voters. 

Were voters aware that Maddox could in fact do nothing about racial integration?  It didn’t matter, did it?  He was their strong man, their fighter, their hero.

As I talk to Trump supporters, there’s an echo of 1966.  He’s “The Man!” 

Hillary, oh Hillary, can you hear me?  Respect Donald Trump.  He’s no buffoon.  Remember 1966 in Georgia.   

Prison reform (2005)

Citizen-Times, January 2005

All politicians assume their constituents want them to be “tough on crime.”  Elections sometimes become who’s-tougher sweepstakes. 

Chances are, you would say that’s what you want.

As a result, the North Carolina prison system houses 36,000 inmates today – four times more than in 1980.  This year 23,000 of these prisoners will be released into North Carolina society.

And within five years, 51% of them will likely be rearrested; 42% will likely be back in prison. 

For this temporary housing of criminals we pay $23,000 a year per prisoner per year.  And we recently constructed four new prisons at $100 million a pop.  The General Assembly has approved the construction of two more. 

Is this what mean by “tough on crime”?  I don’t think so.  I don’t think you mean, “Lock ‘em up for a while and send me the bill.”  I think you’re really saying, “Make my community safe.”  Putting criminals behind bars is not our ultimate goal, is it?

We could theoretically keep building prisons and putting more criminals away for longer sentences and writing checks.  But do we want to do that — at the expense of other state needs, like education, roads, children’s services, Medicaid?

As Mike Easley worked the room at a fund-raiser last fall in Madison County, I asked him, “Governor, what are your plans for prison reform in your second term?” 

His answer surprised me.  “That’s a good question,” he said.  “All I know is, we can’t afford what we’re doing now.” 

That’s where everything begins and ends.  A budget figure of $880 million a year (plus the cost of new prisons) is too much, especially when we aren’t getting the results we need. 

What’s more, the release-return revolving door is crushing lives and families and whole subcultures of our society.   The status of the status quo is bad.

We have to ask:  Why do we put people in prison?  Are we putting people in prison that should be punished and/or treated otherwise?  Are sentences appropriate?  Are we using people’s time in prison to prepare them for release?

During an oversight hearing in October, Republican Congressman Howard Coble of Greensboro said, During my tenure in Congress, I have consistently supported policies that are tough on crime….I also believe, however, that we should craft federal policies that enable states and localities to assist individuals leaving the prison system and reentering society instead of inadvertently tying the hands of those groups and people who want to help in that transition and those ex-offenders who want to be successful, law-abiding citizens in society.”

These are gigantic issues.  Intense study has been done on all of them, other states are working toward solutions, and wise recommendations are out there. 

In the 1990s North Carolina was a national leader.  We achieved an enviable balance between meting out appropriate justice and staying within our means. 

This is not true today.  And it won’t be as long as lawmakers fear that they will fight a “soft on crime” tag in the next election.  They know about the studies and the enlightened recommendations of the American Bar Association and advisory boards within North Carolina — but they won’t act until you tell them to.  

I’m writing now because it is extremely important that the general public – that is, you — understand the why’s, who’s, how’s and how long’s of our criminal justice system.

Anything that’s done on this in Raleigh has to be bipartisan.  Everybody, from extreme right to extreme left, has to reach consensus.  If they do, our lawmakers can roll up their sleeves instead of automatically raising their hands to vote for new prisons.

How can you learn?  The best way is to become a community volunteer at our area prisons.  That’s what I did.  Get to know inmates as flesh-and-blood people, most of whom want to change their lives.  Help them do it.  Help with GED programs.  Take them to your church.  Be their mentor. 

If you can’t do that, go to Google and put in “North Carolina prisons” then a topic:  recidivism, sentencing, alternatives, community, etc.

I volunteered to help in Jesus’ name (Matthew 25:35).  In the process, these men have helped me.  Do it.

I’m no liberal (2006)

Citizen-Times, March 2006

I don’t qualify as a liberal any more.  I’m sane.

My father idolized Franklin Roosevelt.  He took personal risks in working to oust the Cracker Party from its half-century hold on Augusta, Georgia.  I remember the night he slept with a ballot box under his bed, if he slept.  I absorbed from him a basic sense of fairness. 

I’ve been more fiercely liberal in recent decades because the alternative crowd has been pushing ideas like “low taxes”(which really means “let’s tax working people and let rich people keep their dividends”) and “small government” (which means “let’s keep government from interfering with big business so they can make all the money they want, and oh well, never mind their employees and the environment”).  I’ve regarded myself as keeper of the world that my grandchildren will inherit.

Now I look around and wonder what’s happening to liberalism.  Today’s liberals seem to have gone totally bonkers. 

All they seem to care about is their cause.  They aren’t giving thought to cause and effect. 

The occasion for this column is an article in last Saturday’s Washington Post titled, “…Anti-Bush Cries Get Louder.”  It was about growing sentiment around the country – including North Carolina, the article said – in favor of impeaching President George Bush.

Understand.  Nobody writing on this page has derogatoried Bush more than I have.  But impeachment?  Have we lost our minds?

Why not, you ask?  I’ll tell you why not.

America is tottering on so many disaster brinks I’ve lost count:  budget deficit, trade deficit, job losses,  national forests’ being sold, the Muslim world against us, civil liberties eroding, dependence on foreign oil, and I’m just getting started.  

Bush has proved even more incompetent than I said he would – but the voters reelected him.  And he’s got three more years.  The country can’t afford a bitter fight over impeachment while the glaciers melt away.  Remember how Congress stood still for a year when Bill Clinton was on trial?

Further, there’s no chance whatsoever that impeachment will happen with a Republican Congress.  And if Democrats win Congressional majorities in November, it would be a disaster for us to spend time on impeachment that should be spent on solving the country’s problems.  Not if we’re more than adolescent food-fighters, that is.

And if Democrats call for impeachment now, the voting public will say, “Sure, that’s what Democrats will do if we give them Congress: they’ll go after Bush.”  And they’ll conclude, “I don’t want to watch that movie.”

Folks, not only am I against impeachment:  I’d like to see Democrats work in partnership with the White House after they take Congress.  We need every resource the government’s got mobilized against problems like energy independence, Social Security and, yes, the Iraq War.  If Democrats don’t do what’s best for America, like Republicans have not done…well, they should.

Another one.  Senator Russ Feingold has called for censure of Bush for the way he conducted warrantless wiretaps outside the law.  And all the liberal groups are whooping like people at a cockfight.  Hey, tell me:  was I asleep when a court or commission decided that what Bush did is in fact illegal? 

Are the liberal groups just using impeachment and censure to raise money?  Is Feingold just fishing for liberal votes looking to 2008?  Are they just giving Democrats a harmless way to vent their frustrations?  Do they really think that rational Americans want Congress to waste its time on this kind of nonsense?    

The liberal activist group, moveon.org, sent me a survey asking whether I thought they should support “progressive” Democrats opposing incumbent Democrats who haven’t spoken out strongly enough against the Iraq War.  I replied – and I had a whopping 14% on my side in the survey — “Are you crazy?  I oppose the war, but if you replace incumbent Democrats with neophyte Democrats in the general election, you’ll just be helping Republicans hold Congress.” 

To me, that’s all that matters, politically, in 2006 – the Democrats’ retaking Congress. And I’m against anything that distracts from that one single objective.  My word to all liberal causes, no matter how worthy you are:  Stay low!

I don’t want to feel righteous showing off my liberal ideals.  I don’t enjoy feeling pure for purity’s sake.

I want to feel relieved — that Republicans can’t ruin America any longer.  I love America as I’ve known it —  the America my grandchildren will never know if Republicans keep power.

Humpty Dumpty on Syria

News-Record &Sentinel, November 13, 2019

I was watching one of President Trump’s Q&A sessions with reporters.  He was breezing through his usual topics, like how China is desperate for a deal and how American farmers won’t be able to produce all that China wants to buy.

Then something bizarre happened.  The president began to morph into an egg, a huge egg-shaped egg, perched on a wall.  And he was arguing with a young girl named Alice — a weird conversation about neckties and birthdays, when suddenly Trump — no, he’s Humpty Dumpty now — says: “There’s glory for you!”

Alice is puzzled and asks what he means by “glory.”  Humpty Dumpty smiles contemptuously and says, “It means a kind of argument.”  Alice protests that “glory” doesn’t mean “a kind of argument,” to which Humpty Dumpty springs his punch line:

“’When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

When the egg morphed back into Trump, he is still talking: “My strategy in Syria is a great victory for America.”

“Hello, Mr. Dumpty,” I said out loud.  “’Victory’ doesn’t mean ‘fiasco.’” 

I hate to play semantics at a time like this, but I can’t help asking:  Was Humpty Dumpty lying when he said “glory” means “a kind of argument?”  Lying?  I don’t think so.  I think Humpty Dumpty lives in a slippery sloppy world where nothing is true — and nothing is a lie.  He doesn’t think truth and untruth.  His dialogue with Alice was nothing but contempt and mockery. 

Ditto Trump.  He might know fact from fiction, or he might not.  In his slippery sloppy world, it doesn’t matter.   

Until he says his strategy in Syria is “a great victory,” that is.  I can’t give him an ignorance pass on that one.

I prefer truth — like Judith Miller of Fox News put it:

“As a result of what Trump called his “great American victory” Wednesday, President Bashar Assad of Syria is now stronger. Russian President Vladimir Putin is stronger. Turkey is now working with Russia to patrol Syria’s border. America is viewed as an untrustworthy partner by the Kurds, who helped destroy ISIS, for which Trump claims credit. Thanks to him, escaped Islamist militants can scheme and dream of restoring their caliphate and attacking New York again.”

One more thing.  We shouldn’t forget that Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall.

GOP & sea level rise

News-Record& Sentinel, October 30, 2019

North Carolina legislators have decided that the way to make exponential increases in sea level rise [go away]…is to make it against the law.”  Scientific American blog

“If your science gives you a result you don’t like, pass a law saying the result is illegal.”  Stephen Colbert

Veeery funny.  Coastal N.C. is washing away, and we get comedians

N.C. is at particular risk from global warming because we have 2100 square miles of low-lying coastline and thin barrier islands. If sea-level rise is to be believed at all, then structures with long lives, like houses and roads, should be designed accordingly.

We do have a Coastal Resources Commission (CRC), that (from their website) “designates areas of environmental concern, adopts rules and policies for coastal development within those areas, and certifies local land use plans.” 

And in 2010, they issued a report recommending that N.C. prepare for a 39-inch sea-level rise this century.  But that November, Republicans took over the General Assembly. 

And almost immediately (April 6, 2011), a bill was filed that barred state agencies from adopting any “rule, policy or planning guideline that defines a rate of sea-level change.”    

To make sure, they cut the CRC from 15 to 13 members and replaced eight environment-friendly members.

This is not a scientific disagreement.  It’s not really incompetence.  This is raw politics. 

You see, real estate and homebuilding interests are big donors to Republicans, and they don’t like creeping tides that impact property values. 

Virginia is preparing.  The City of Virginia Beach is spending $3.8M to study the impact of sea-level rise.  They informed their citizens: “While the rising waters are a slow-moving problem, they cannot be ignored, so the City is preparing now to address them – 20, 30 and even 50 years out.”

That’s what wise lawmakers do.  They anticipate.  They adopt policies to solve future problems. 

Raleigh News&Observer cites a recent report that “more than 1,900 homes worth $840 million have been built [between 2010 and 2016] in areas that are likely to be in a 10-year flood zone in 2050.”  Two of our counties rank in the nation’s top ten in at-risk building.

But note:  recent hurricanes may be slapping Republicans up side the head.  An editorial in the Greensboro News&Record in September begins: “Can the CRC be coming to their senses?”  We can hope..

GOP rules by surprises

News-Record & Sentinel, October 16, 2019

The story is told of a basketball team that came with a secret plan.  They took the floor with seven players.  They ran without dribbling.  They body-checked opposing players.    

To succeed, their plan had to be a surprise.  The other team had to come expecting to play by the rules.

A real-life version of this tale unfolded last month in Raleigh.  It opened September 10 with the Republican chairman of the House Rules Committee calling the top Democrat to tell him that the next day’s session would be a “skeleton session,” with no vote to be taken.  He told the press the same thing.

Next morning, the Speaker of the House, Tim Moore, gaveled the session to order.  Immediately, the floor filled with Republicans.  Only a dozen Democrats were present.  Very soon, a GOP representative made a motion to override the governor’s veto of the state budget.  Democrats hollered foul, but Moore didn’t allow debate, which would have given Democrats time to rally their people.  One protesting representative had her microphone turned off.  The override passed, 55-9.  No reporters were present.

This maneuver brings back memories of past Republican surprises, doesn’t it?  Like how they came to power.

In the spring of 2010, national Republican bigshot Ed Gillespie came to Raleigh with a plan.  Republicans would wait until the closing days of that year’s campaign, when Democrats would have no time to respond, and then they’d spend millions to smear Democratic candidates, especially with twisted mailbox fliers.  Surprise!  They took both houses of the General Assembly. 

Republicans hadn’t been in control since 1898.  Their leaders had no experience — so they did what came natural to them:  arrogance and trickery.  In January 2012, with an hour’s notice to Democrats, they called a special midnight session to override a veto. Their reply to criticism:  “Whenever the will of the majority is to pass legislation without further delay, we should move forward.”  In all, over eight years, 21 of their acts have been ruled unconstitutional by the courts. 

Most were done when Thom Tillis was Speaker.  What about our current Speaker?  You can Google him at “Tim Moore scandals.”

Madison County Republicans aren’t Raleigh Republicans.  But Hise and Presnell still expect to get thousands of votes here.  You have to wonder:  what if Hise and Presnell are the ones who are surprised?     

F. Graham, a sad figure

Asheville Daily Planet, November 2019

Franklin Graham could go down as one of the sad figures of our time — a man called “evangelist” and “pastor” who ensnared himself in the sordid side of politics.

He’s stumbling down the same road his father painfully took.

In 2011, an interviewer asked Billy Graham if he had any regrets as he looked back over his life.  First, he predictably said he wished he’d spent more time with his family.

Then he added: “I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.”

Yes, I’d say he did cross the line.  He was part of Richard Nixon’s 1972 campaign.  One Graham memo, for example, advises: “I would seriously question the wisdom of your becoming personally involved in the campaign before early September.  If the polls and the mood of the country continue as is you may be wise to do only a minimum of campaigning. I think Senator McGovern is perfectly capable of making further mistakes.”  And the Nixon tapes show him trashing the unfriendly media.

When asked about his dad’s regret, Franklin sniffed, “We are disappointed in life by people.  That’s part of life.”    

Yes, it is.  But, weirdly, he doesn’t seem to entertain that Donald Trump could disappoint. 

In the impeachment inquiry, Graham warns Democrats to “make sure that truth is told.”  But he himself is not seeking truth about Trump’s alleged misdeeds that are at the heart of the inquiry.  “Our country could begin to unravel if an elected president is thrown out of office because of lies and the media,” he said. 

Sad.  The charges against Trump are not lies.  The president doesn’t deny them.  He broke our election laws in Ukraine.  When Graham calls the inquiry “nothing about nothing,” he’s on the wrong side of truth.  He’s being totally partisan.

In First Samuel, chapter 26, David passed on a chance to kill Saul, saying, “The Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed.”  Graham seems to have adopted this attitude toward Trump.  He often says that God put Trump in office, so it follows that nobody should lay a hand on him.  (Similarly, when Jerry Falwell, Jr. was asked if Trump could do anything that would cause him to abandon him, he replied simply, “No.”)    

We don’t have divine right of kings.  We have a Constitution, and the Framers instituted impeachment for exactly the situation we find ourselves in now — when an elected president uses his office to destroy a political opponent.  

When Graham touts the president, he mentions his nominating conservative judges — always specifically “conservative.” Indeed, that’s been Trump’s single criterion, more than incorruptible, wise, open-minded or skilled in the law.  Franklin Graham’s north star is conservatism. 

His dad was conservative before him — theologically conservative (expected of a down-the-line evangelical), but also politically conservative (not necessarily expected). He endorsed George W. Bush in Florida on the eve of the 2000 election.  And he wrote that “Jesse Helms…was a man of consistent conviction to conservative ideals and courage to faithfully serve God and country based on principle, not popularity or politics.”

Of the two, theology and politics, Billy was more prominently the former.  Franklin, while he indeed preaches a conservative gospel of Christ, is far more openly partisan.  “Christians should be aware of candidates who call themselves progressive,” he tweeted.  “Progressive is generally just a code word for someone who leans toward socialism, who does not believe in God, & who will likely vote against Godly principles that are so important to our nation.”

Maybe Billy Graham’s repentance about politics, in part, had to do with the unprincipled criminal he supported in 1972.  Maybe Franklin Graham will recognize that the man he supports now is also an unprincipled criminal. 

I’m ready to X Roe

News-Record & Sentinel, September 2019

When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 by a 7-2 margin in the Supreme Court, five of the seven justices on the winning side were appointed by Republican presidents.

This kind of nostalgic trivia comes to mind because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s illness.  If she doesn’t make it to Inauguration Day 2021, her replacement would probably make the Court very ideological.

That would likely mean repeal of Roe v. Wade.

And I’ve got to say, I’m ready to see it go. 

Personally, I don’t like abortion—even more since I saw our granddaughter’s early heartbeat—but I also understand reasons women need them.  I’ve never called myself “pro-choice,” but pro-life arguments are thin.

If Roe goes down, some things would change, of course.  The U.S. government would be out of the picture, and the individual states would decide on abortion within their borders.  We would have “life” states and “choice” states, like before the Civil War when there were slave states and free states. 

Significantly, I think, more Americans would live in choice states (projected 44 percent) than life states (38 percent).    

An organized transport system from life states to choice states would develop, perhaps with subsidies for those who can’t afford the fare.  Demand would drive pharmaceutical and technology companies to speed up self-help solutions.  Underground practitioners would probably appear in life states.    

Abortions would continue.  But the issue in the Supreme Court would finally be decided, closed, settled, over with. 

And I’m ready for that.  For decades, televangelists and others have used abortion and Roe v. Wade to pump up the faithful, creating a huge distraction from what Jesus called “the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness.” 

Dallas pastor and Trump buddy Robert Jeffress has said that Democrats were opposed to Brett Kavanaugh because, on the Court, he would “somehow lessen the number of babies being murdered every year in the womb through abortion.” 

All that leads into politics.  In the Wagon Wheel, I overheard a friend say, “I could never vote for somebody who supports abortion.”  And the best man in my wedding years ago votes for the strongest anti-abortion candidates. 

If overturning Roe v. Wade would free my friends to evaluate candidates by their integrity, their wisdom, their patriotism and their calm leadership, then I’m all for it.

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