Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Safari Guide

The purpose of the guide, whether in the wilds of Africa, the rigors of Alaska, or a hunting camp in Colorado, is not to take down game himself but rather furnish intimate knowledge of the area and its resources. Sometimes he offers a protective role and other times he is simply an outfitter. In the worst scenario he is a servant to provide amenities which embellish life in a wilderness camp. Although not an absolute necessity for an “outback” adventure, he is regarded by the less experienced as a valuable aid.

Early in my adult life I was an avid hunter. I admit that because of limited resources and a “do-it-yourself” spirit I have only on one occasion sought the services of a guide. On an elk hunt in north-western Colorado near Trapper’s Lake, he provided room, board, and a wonderful horse with an even disposition and tolerance for an inexperienced rider. He also managed the hunt in rugged and unfamiliar terrain. I took no game; therefore one might say the hunt was unsuccessful. I disagree because it proved to be one of the more therapeutic and serene experiences of my life. There is far more to a hunt than merely leaving with some hapless critter strapped to the car. He engineered an opportunity but through the circumstances of the moment, I elected to pass and that is a story for another post. I have since traded my rifle for a camera and continue to enjoy the hunt.

Our life is cluttered but often enhanced with “safari guides” who don’t carry a 30-06 and probably don’t know how to skin a bear. The first that comes to mind is our pastorate and their able assistants. Priest, pastor, parson, padre—whatever—they are guides in our lives. What ever counsel they can offer is of course valuable only so far as we might implement it. Their example can serve as a beacon of refuge or a goal to be emulated. At the end of the day, however, they will not pull the trigger. That is up to each of us in our one-on-one relationship with God. Just like the hunter, it is we who are responsible for the success of our endeavor.

They can familiarize us with our necessary equipment—the scriptures—and teach us how to effectively search and locate their enrichment. Through experience they are most often able guides to find our way through the occasional impenetrable maze of mystery therein and help us come closer to our end result. They can empathize with our failures and encourage us to get up, dust off and keep up our pursuit of the promises which God has offered to the believer. They are ever ready to point out the pitfalls and dangers which we may encounter on the way. These dedicated folks are available to direct one to the right path, which results with oneness with the Almighty.

They will also help us to hone our techniques to be pleasing in the sight of God. They help us to find the brother in need and teach us how to be of service to others. They are quick to help us maintain the decorum of our home, assemblies and our lives. Instead of tall tales around a remote campfire, they offer us regular doses of the truth of the gospel and real tales of the example set by Jesus Christ. Instead of first aid for campground carelessness, they offer their prayers for healing not only of the physical infirmities but also weakness of the individual spirit. In that, they strengthen our personal belief to approach God with confidence to enlighten and enrich our lives and bodies on our own.

These “guides” are an essential adjunct to our journey to the Savior. Some of us require more “guide” service than others. All must realize that at the moment of truth, our own personal actions and beliefs will be the determining factor. I strongly recommend the use of the guide. One last reminder: I never met a guide who wouldn’t take tips.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

MMR 53 (cont’d)

Politics is a rough and tumble business in our country and has been from the “git-go". Even the most casual student of history will acknowledge that, if anything, it has softened over the years. A couple centuries ago it was not uncommon to see cartoons of prominent figures portrayed as animals or having snakes growing from their heads—see Nast here. Hyperbole was king and disparagement was the rule. As laconic as usual, Harry Truman once remarked, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

During my teens, he was president; a man capable of making tough decisions, who brought mid-western practicality, decency, and respect for America to the White House. As with any politician, I disagreed with some of his policies, but he retained my respect for the office and embodied certain characteristics which set an example for my later years. I was entirely comfortable, during the Korean War, to have him as my commander-in-chief.

John Kennedy, although not my personal choice, shared many of the same qualities. I recognized that he faced many issues (civil rights, treaty obligations in S.E. Asia, organized crime, space exploration, etc.) which had no easy answers. I was convinced that, even though sometimes inconsistent with my ideas, he basically had the country’s interests at heart.

His successor, through tragic circumstance, Lyndon Johnson projected an aura of concern for the country as well. One of the most endearing news photos of him was of a man leaned back in a leather swivel chair in the oval office, reading a document while idly scratching his dog’s head. It was too natural to have been posed and spoke to all I needed to know about our president. He was “in touch” but still very much a decent man. Although having too much in common with Jackson, he still retained enough Jefferson to warrant association with a prominent Democrat symbol.

I shall make no attempt to explain what happened to the Democrat party in the succeeding years. Obviously, their rising social consciousness has been a factor, but that alone seems insufficient to explain their disconnect with “regular” Americans. Subsequent members of the party cannot be fairly compared to Truman, Kennedy or Johnson. It is possible that they are the final victims of the cold war.

The current crop is demonstrative of this separation from these quoted historic figures. We have evidence that the latest members have dropped any of the former vestiges of decency, decorum, national pride or genuine concern for their fellow citizens. The contradictions are in no place more apparent than in their response to their own inner party squabbles and the GOP’s pick for vice-president.

Any one not brain dead for the last year, needs no explanation of the carnage wrought by those seeking the presidential nod in the Democrat party primary. My first reaction was a level of enjoyment watching the havoc wrought by that struggle for supremacy. On deeper contemplation I came to realize that it had a terrible affect on the country as a whole. The general result was to suspend civil discourse in favor of partisan fervor. Apparently the Democrat party has been co-opted by a vicious radical fringe whose primary goal is achieving personal victory and agenda, and not the welfare of the United States. This is inconsistent with my living memories of Harry, Jack and Lyndon. These men had, for lack of a better word, class. They were serious, hard working servants of the people with little time for the nonsense which passes for political argument today. Each would have had far too much conscience to yield to the temptation of an attack on a person’s family involving scurrilous lies about easily provable facts.

Inherent in the spreading of rumor about Mrs. Palin and her newborn child, is the “principal” plank in the Democrat party platform; the right to murder children. I find it appalling that a group of people who are alarmed by the alleged carelessness of an expectant mother in choosing to fly in the final days of pregnancy are the same people who have endorsed the murder of over 40,000,000 American children in less than four decades. If capable of consistent thought, they should applaud her choice to take such a risk. Some have even attributed (ignorantly) that the child’s impairment was due to the reckless exposure. Down syndrome is a genetic condition and thus irreversible.

To further the outrage, some have suggested that the child is actually the product of her oldest daughter and Mrs. Palin is the child’s grandmother. They support this with a picture of the girl with a telltale bulge in the abdomen. Never mind the picture was taken in 2006. One needs to explain that the symbol of the Republican Party is the elephant and that each member is not an actual elephant and does not have a gestation of 660 days.

We live in a day when individual party principals do not need to do the dirty work of “smear” politics. There are an abundance of surrogates to carry the water for them. News media and the internet stand ready to disseminate any lie they can come up with. Representative of both is Alan Colmes, featured as part of the team of Hannity and Colmes on Fox and author of his own website. The following was extracted from that site:

Rogers Cadenhead gives the timeline associated with the birth of her newest child. She had a speech in Dallas and, even after the water broke, continued with her activities, and then boarded a plane for home. She did consult by phone with her doctor.

Still, a Sacramento, Calif., obstetrician who is active in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said when a pregnant woman's water breaks, she should go right to the hospital because of the risk of infection. That's true even if the amniotic fluid simply leaks out, said Dr. Laurie Gregg.”

So the expert says it’s a risk. What the “expert” doesn’t reveal is that she is also a Democrat and a Golden State political appointee as revealed by the Sacramento Bee. How convenient is that? The doctor whom Governor Palin called at home in Alaska is familiar with the health history of the patient and Sarah, as mother of four at that point, is also no tyro in the baby delivery business. She is also no blushing bride in a Lamaze class.

The narrative here is simple: when confronted with a superior person, take refuge in ad hominem attack and hope for sufficient confusion to cloud the matter. It has become the rule for the socialist wing of the elites.
I fully understand that confronting a woman (!) of courage, judgment, principle, experience and leadership ability is a formidable problem. The solution lies not in attacking the individual but countering with some notion of superior qualities. To do otherwise is disgusting and incidentally, in my opinion, un-American.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 53

It was never my intention to write a political blog. With the current state of affairs in national politics it is very difficult to resist. It is even more so on the “Rant.” My mental health demands an outlet for my frustration and disgust with some of my “fellow Americans". The behavior of some of the principals is abominable.

As I have learned more and more about Governor Palin and her family, I am starting to fully realize the genius of McCain’s pick. These folks actually “live” the full rich life that some of our leaders can only describe from dreams and not reality. In reviewing her accomplishments in a short experience as governor of our largest state, she has managed to accomplish what the average guy thinks he would like to do if he were able. She cleaned up a huge mess in corruption and favoritism in her capitol without regard to party affiliation. Finding the state jet unnecessary, she auctioned it off on E-Bay and put the money in the state treasury. She demonstrated that she knows that the citizens of Alaska are the boss and directed her efforts on their behalf.

On a human level we find an adamant pro-life mother of five with a loving husband, a son soon deploying to the Middle East with the Army, and an infant son with special needs. We see a life member of the NRA, an outdoorswoman, and a preference for Moose Stew. Add that to Cindy McCain’s beer business and some (not I!) would call that combination a dream team.

As governor of Alaska, Palin's state has only two neighbors: Russia and Canada. Part of her job is to interact with the governments of both. In the case of Canada, she just shepherded a deal for a pipeline which topped $21 billion dollars. She is constantly faced with treaty and boundary (well in excess of 1000 miles) matters with the Russians. They share critical fishing waters. As CIC of the state’s National Guard, she traveled to their base in Asia, met with the troops and sought to find out first hand about their well-being. This equates to genuine, hands on experience.

A Terrific Satire

Apparently, she has not read the instruction manual for politicians. I found an excellent synopsis in the comment section of a blog which was written by Damiano (his nom-de-blog) which offers a satirical view of what’s wrong with Sarah’s approach. I am shamelessly including it for your instruction and entertainment.

Palin is completely inexperienced and utterly incapable.

You heard me. The initial euphoria over the idea of a naughty librarian on the TV news each night for the next 4 to 8 years has worn off. Now, it’s back to hard, pragmatic reality and the reality is that she has no place in Washington, DC.

Want proof? Consider the following:

Only an amateur would speak off the cuff, as she usually does. Experienced politicians avoid speaking extemporaneously whenever possible. Otherwise, the electorate might find out what they really think.

If Palin had meaningful experience, she would have known that the job of Ethics Commissioner is SUPPOSED to be corrupt, thus saving her the trouble of resigning in protest and then running for the highest office in the state.

Only an amateur would attain political office by actually defeating opposing candidates at the ballot box.. An experienced politician would have eliminated opposition candidates by protesting technical glitches in their nominating petitions or petitioning to change the party rules on how votes are counted in primary elections or hiring groups like ACORN to register 14 people who all, coincidentally, have the same names and reside at the same abandoned and boarded-up restaurant.. Did she not once consider taking lessons from the Chicago political machine that got Obama elected? Sheesh.

Any experienced politician knows that upon assuming high office, you are supposed to demand a larger plane; not sell the useless behemoth that was recently purchased by your predecessor.

Only an amateur would implement a comprehensive energy and conservation policy shortly after taking office. A more experienced politician would have avoided the issue outright for at least 30 years while demonizing oil companies, then banning any voting on the topic followed by a recess vacation through the next election

Any experienced politician knows that once elected, you are not supposed to spend your first 20 months in office actually doing the job you were elected to do. You should be campaigning for another office – as Obama could have told her.

Sarah Palin was only supposed to TALK about government reform and utter platitudes about exiling corrupt, entrenched politicians – not actually do anything about it. She demonstrated her naivete by creating a smooth running government that included representatives of other political parties, thereby making it impossible for her to find a scapegoat if anything goes wrong.

Only a political greenhorn would thumb their nose at the environmental lobby by hunting and actually shooting moose and caribou. Worse yet, she foolishly told the truth: the proposed oil drilling site in ANWR is NOT the secret location of Eden but is, in fact, a barren wasteland.

What Sarah Palin does not seem to understand is that here in the 21st century, chief executives do not negotiate beneficial business deals for their states with foreign nations or take time to actually hang out with soldiers in Iraq. That time is better spent preening for the cameras in Berlin – something else a more seasoned and experienced politician such as Obama could have told her.

Holding oil companies accountable and successfully negotiating mutually productive agreements with them proves she does not understand their true purpose: if you work with them to the benefit of your state, you will no longer have a faceless villain to scare people into voting for you.

By creating new jobs instead of demonizing capitalism, Sarah foolishly enabled people to become more reliant on themselves and less reliant on government, hereby diminishing the dependant voter base – a classic newbie mistake. After all, if people have jobs, they will not have much need for the government and will be too busy enjoying their lives to protest the U.S., its corporations and, of course, opposing candidates.

Worse yet, Palin created a budget surplus and mailed it back to the taxpayers. Doesn’t she know that if the government generates a surplus, it’s doing something wrong? An experienced leader like Obama or Biden knows that taxpayer money belongs to the government – not to the people.

In another rankly amateurish move, she cooperated completely with government officials investigating accusations made against her. Experienced politicians know that you are supposed to stonewall, obfuscate, pressure libraries to expunge any record of unsavory political associations and ship potential witnesses off to Caribbean islands – another good reason not to sell the executive jet.

Yup, she is hopelessly inexperienced.

That is why I ♥ SARAH’CUDA and why I am voting McCain/Palin ‘08

Yet Another Speech

David Brooks is responsible for the following proposed speech which he suggests might likely be used by Barack Hussein Obama. Actually it is multi-purpose and might be heard from either side of the chamber. For best results, read this aloud in your best imitation of senatorial self-importance and amaze yourself, your family and your friends.

“We stand at a crossroads at a pivot point, near a fork in the road on the edge of a precipice in the midst of the most consequential election since last year’s “American Idol.”

One path before us leads to the past, and the extinction of the human race. The other path leads to the future, when we will all be dead. We must choose wisely.

We must close the book on the bleeding wounds of the old politics of division and sail our ship up a mountain of hope and plant our flag on the sunrise of a thousand tomorrows with an American promise that will never die! For this election isn’t about the past or the present, or even the pluperfect conditional. It’s about the future, and Barack Obama loves the future because that’s where all his accomplishments are.”

And Finally

There is much more to be covered on this general subject and the next post will take up where this one leaves off. I did take some time yesterday morning to listen to one of my very favorite preachers. As usual, his topic was God and his attitude toward sin. He related a story told in Joshua 7 which pretty well sums up God’s attitude on the subject. If you ever think about sin and haven’t read that chapter in a while, it’s a good read and might encourage you to rethink the outcome of separating oneself from God.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon