Celebration constipation.

Yay progress!

I read newsfeeds daily from aggregators Google news, Apple news, and Flipboard, and try to mix what the aggregators call “conservative view” and “liberal view”. Sometimes I just rapidly flip through the Flipboard feed, looking for headlines that appear interesting. Today something suddenly hit me, so I went back and checked my perception. I look at the headlines, and try to guess the media outlet pushing them. While the following list is certainly not definitive, it is representative. The following outlets are almost entirely leaning in one direction on what they report and especially how they report it.

“Conservative view” (“Right-leaning “) outlets include Fox News, Daily Signal, Redstate, Townhall, the Resurgent, The Blaze, Dailywire, New York Post, thefederalist.com, newsbusters.org. Some of the more in-depth and analytical publications/websites include National Review and Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College. I can’t think of any “entertainment” and sports related outlets that discuss or promote conservative thought or ideas. In radio is where conservative ideas have a huge following: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dennis Prager, Glenn Beck.

“Liberal view” (“Left-leaning”) outlets include Slate, Vox, CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, VICE, Quartz, New York Times, DailyKos, LA Times. In-depth publications include The Atlantic, The New Yorker, New York magazine. “Entertainment” and Sports publications/websites include ESPN, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones. Since I never listen to the radio anymore, I don’t know who’s big in the liberal radio space.

There’s enough outlets to promote any point of view, but of all the conservative view outlets, only one has a TV network, Fox. The liberal view has three TV networks, NBC, ABC and CBS, and three of the major newspapers in the country. There’s no question that the left-leaning outlets as a group have the money, infrastructure and technology to reach multiple more people than right-leaning as a group, though Fox is competitive with the liberal TV outlets. Radio is much more egalitarian. It doesn’t take a cable TV subscription to listen, getting a radio show is less expensive and rigorous than a TV show, and there are far more radio stations than TV networks and their affiliates. Forbes had an article focusing on why conservative radio so dramatically outpaces liberal or progressive radio, and even the writer’s obvious prejudice against conservative radio could not adequately explain, though there was lots of speculation. The one reason is the one they left out. Love is stronger than hate, celebration is better than denigration.

Both conservatives and progressives spend more of their time and verbiage criticizing each other than complimenting each other, but mark the differences in criticism: most conservative criticism of progressives is about their policies rather than attacks on them personally, though Rush in particular offers many humorous aphorisms and nicknames, thinking of himself as an entertainer more than commentator; progressives often attack conservatives personally, and their minions’ behavior is emblematic, like MAGA hat harassment. Conservatives generally criticize progressive policies because they love our country and want to protect it against bad policies; progressives demonstrate repeatedly contempt for our history, traditions and freedoms, especially the most basic freedoms of speech and life. I believe that many, if not most, progressives actually hate our country. Perhaps the most important distinction is between celebration and denigration.

I spend hours reading headlines and articles from both points of view, and I am struck, or as I said in my third sentence it hit me, how little, closer to nonexistent, is celebration of anything or anyone in progressive/liberal/left media. Personal attacks abound. “Trump screws this up, Trump lies, Trump is guilty, the Rich suck, the U.S. sucks….and on” dominate their headlines. I went back over days worth of headlines and couldn’t find a single one celebrating anything except imagined defeats for Trump or doxing some helpless senior for MAGA hatcrime. While many conservative/right headlines were also negative about opponents, there were many that celebrated achievements of individuals, regardless of skin color or nationality or ethnicity. Speaking for myself, I love to follow stories of achievements, in sports and otherwise. Rising above adversity, after a long period of wounding, even self-inflicted, is inspiring. Tiger Woods winning the Masters, years after he crashed and burned, battling back after injuries and an avalanche of negative publicity, was riveting for me, even though I have no interest in golf or Tiger personally. I never even liked him. But this is different.

Celebration of achievement creates a brotherhood/sisterhood of sorts. It unifies. Criticism divides, the even when it leads to improving what was criticized. I believe the essential difference between most conservative and most liberal media is the pleasure they get from celebrating vs. criticizing, respectively. Even what is perceived by the other side as negative, differs in tone. Here’s a typical headline from Thefederalist.com: “School climate survey” tells students “gender is how a person feels.” It’s straight reporting, but the facts are damning of liberals to conservatives. Here’s a typical headline, on the same page of my Flipboard feed, from Rolling Stone: “Notre Dame burning feels like an act of liberation.” The most critical conservative headline I could find today was from theamericanconservative.com: “Do Democrats even care about the Purple States?” But the actual article itself was factual reporting rather than mere opinions. 

With the last 3 years of daily news feed reading, I can’t recall a single headline from the progressive/liberal/left media space celebrating any individual achievement. There was lots of celebrations: more laws liberalizing abortion, more investigations of Trump, more harassment of MAGA hats, more lawsuits restricting individual  freedoms, but nothing that was good for this country. There’s no laxative for celebration constipation.   


“Burn the ships” commitment math: 1=1,000.

This phrase “Burn The Ships” comes from a historic conquest of history when, in 1519, Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez landed in Mexico on the shores of the Yucatan, with only one objective…seize the great treasures known to be there, hoarded by the Aztecs. You might say that Cortez’s order represented one of the shortest and most effective motivational speeches in history. Yeah, I know, he was a colonizer and an almost white guy who subjugated the proud indigenous Aztecs. More likely, the myriad slaves and future human sacrifices preferred Cortez and the Spaniards, but I digress. This weekend, General Social Survey data revealed that Americans who profess to have “no religion,” 23.1%, now exceed Catholics, our largest religion with 23%, and Evangelicals at 22.5%. And the “nones” have grown by 266% since 1991. SO WHAT?

What is more effective in a war, a 400 pound diabetic with emphysema, or a 90 pound Olympic gymnast? At one time, self professed Christians and Roman Catholics were the majority of citizens in this country, now they are losing ground to the “nones”. I say again, so what? “Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, ‘Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few’.” 1 Samuel 14:6 Jonathan and his armor bearer routed a garrison of philistine soldiers. “And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance.” Judges 7:12. This was the abundance of the army the Israelites were facing.So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. – Judges 7:8 Judges 7:8. God sent thousands of Israelites back home, except for 300, who routed the Midianite and Amalekite armies. Why did God sent all those soldiers back? The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Judges 7:2

God wants His sons and daughters, His soldiers, to conquer enemy territory by proclaiming the gospel and His kingdom! So what that the western world is losing “professors”, Africa, China, Korea and others are gaining believers faster than we are losing them, but what is the nature of what we are losing, and the nature of those who are growing in Africa and Asia? The losers are flabby, smug and spoiled, the gainers are more taut, seasoned by persecution, in comparative fighting trim. I learned this lesson personally. Years ago I was participating in a six day retreat with 199 others, and we played an abbreviated version of something called The Samurai Game.

The marketing blurb for it says: “Participants in The Samurai Game cross a psychological line and step into the unfamiliar simulated world of the medieval Japanese Samurai. They form two competing samurai armies and engage with their teammates and opponents in symbolic battles that eventually determine the simulation’s finale. These battles call upon participants to exercise resourcefulness, decisiveness, dignity, integrity, respect and personal commitment. The pace is fast and unpredictable, and the outcomes are highly uncertain. No two productions of the simulation are ever quite the same, making each learning experience unique! While involving no significant physical contact, The Samurai Game demands much in the way of centeredness and teamwork. Participants are encouraged to summon forth their ‘warrior’ spirit with courage and determination.”

Our 200 participants were divided into two armies, and we each had to pick our leader, called the daimyo, without speaking a word. I won’t get into details of how my team did this, but I was leader by assent. It felt like a different kind of spirit descended on me, and without any thought I ordered my army to bow as a symbolic gesture of fealty. Those who hesitated, I ordered “executed” immediately, the daimyo having complete power. We began the “battle” down by one third of our troops. I must have been channeling the lessons of Cortez, because the remaining army conquered our opponents with a third of our army left after the contests. Burn the ships left no choice but commitment to victory. While God can certainly conquer this world for His kingdom without human aid, He wants to train us to rule in heaven. The training is Kingdom thinking and spreading the gospel in word and deed. The flabby and spoiled need not apply.