Commentary

Michael Medved: A Lesson from Lincoln on President’s Day

On the eve of Civil War, Abraham Lincoln concluded his First Inaugural Address with two sentences of incandescent eloquence: “Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

These words remind us that Lincoln—whose legacy we honor on President’s Day—became one of the greatest English prose writers in history, despite his background as an impoverished frontier boy with only a year of schooling. His rise constitutes one of the many American miracles that should inspire anyone willing to look with open eyes at our uniquely blessed past.

Throughout the Civil War and till the day of his death, Lincoln followed the approach later recommended by Bismarck: Listen for God’s footsteps marching through history, then grab his coattails and hang on.

May we see God’s design for America as we celebrate President’s Day.

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Hugh Hewitt: Is America Willing to Genuinely Safeguard the Vote?

The recent drama in the Iowa caucuses ought to remind us of a broader concern with the reliability of our vote totals and thus the integrity of our democratic process.

Of course, we’ve had questions about vote totals going back to the Florida fiasco in 2000, with a dramatic reminder from the Russian interference in our 2016 vote.

But recent laws are raising new questions and increasing our vulnerabilities.

California—my long-time home until 2016 and the most populous state in the nation—has an approach to voter registration that opens the door to manipulation, in part because that system assumes everyone will play by the rules. In the 2018 cycle, the Golden State legalized a tactic known as “vote harvesting” that ought to have raised the eyebrows of any honest observer.

The danger to democracy is real. Voter data is all over the deep web.

The question is looming: Can America?—or is America willing to genuinely safeguard the vote?

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Albert Mohler: Switzerland Criminalizing Public Expressions of Christian Orthodoxy?

The news coming out of Switzerland should have our attention—where 63 percent of voters decided to criminalize public homophobia.

What are we looking at is a species of hate speech legislation—a law criminalizing certain speech. In an intellectually dishonest move, the Swiss government authorities assured voters that even though this is a curtailment of the freedom of speech, it is not actually a curtailment of free speech.

Yes: It’s a contradictory argument, but it also points to the very heart of the problem with hate speech legislation.

In fact: On the other side of this vast sexual and moral revolution, a traditional defense of biblical Christianity could well now be defined as a criminal act in Switzerland.

Any exemptions we see will not long last because of the logic of this legislation—and that is to declare that anything short of the total public comprehensive embrace of the LGBTQ movement—is a form of hatred.

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MIchael Medved: In Oscar Surprise, White Males Are Shut Out

Big winners in the 2020 Academy Awards illustrated a possible reaction by Oscar voters to widespread criticism of white-male domination of the nominations. In the end, the most prestigious non-acting awards left white males shut out. “Parasite,” a brutal dark comedy from Korea with no whites in the cast, swept Best Picture, Best International Film, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.

In another surprise, Best Adapted Screenplay went to “Jojo Rabbit” and Taika Waititi, who identifies as Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.

Finally, Best Film Score went, for the first time, to a woman: Icelandic composer Hildur Gudnadottir for the dreary, demented “Joker.”

Such choices may silence angry accusations of lack of diversity, while the “Parasite” sweep illustrates an odd tendency to honor films with modest domestic box office receipts—as with “Birdman” or “Hurt Locker” in recent years.

Hollywood elites seem determined to show they’re neither racist nor mercenary—even at the expense of slighting more worthy artistic achievements.

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Owen Strachan: Do Feelings Determine Identity?

Can you change your identity?

We hear that sort of argument a lot today … that we can or that we need to change ourselves to fit our true identity. In Michigan recently, Joseph Gobrick was hauled into court for child pornography—as he was in possession of numerous images of child porn on his computer.

His argument fits our age: he contended in court that though he is a 45-year-old man, he is actually an 8-year-old girl. He feels like he is a little girl, so he must be.

Thankfully, Gobrick’s defense failed. He was found guilty for child pornography and sentenced to prison. But we should take note: though the line held here, this line is a precarious one. Postmodernity is not stable.

This court case calls us to say, in public: your feelings don’t determine your identity.

45-year-old men are not 8-year-old girls, and never will be.

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David Davenport: Trump Won Impeachment on Both Law and Politics

It turns out Nancy Pelosi was right on one thing: The Democrats should not have pursued impeachment in an election year. Now, President Trump has won on both the law and the politics of the impeachment battle.

The 2020 election will again be about turning out a candidate’s base, rather than winning the middle. Trump, especially, has devoted himself fully to turning out and winning his base. Meanwhile, the Democrats—split between progressives and moderates—are still looking for their base.

Without question, the Democrats’ move to impeach the president has stirred up Trump’s base more than theirs. The Trump team successfully argued that the relatively weak impeachment case brought in an election year was, in effect, an effort to take away the people’s vote. On the heels of impeachment, the president’s approval rating is up.

Democrats now face a high price for their political miscalculation.

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Hugh Hewitt: The Lessons of Impeachment

With “The impeachment pageant” largely behind us, get ready for the flood of “What did we learn?” essays.

But there are no “lessons” here other than the abuse of power by members of a partisan majority in the House to raise profiles and profits for themselves. This chapter leaves a constitutional scar. This behavior is not what impeachment was intended for. President Trump’s phone call did not include any offense, much less any impeachable one.

We won’t know for 50 years what impeachment does to Trump’s place in history.

My guess? Not much, given his outsize personality and growing list of achievements, including:

• rebuilding of the U.S. military
• appointments of—so far—two Supreme Court justices and a growing list of appeals court and district court judges
• a massive tax cut
• a very strong economy
• 3.5 percent unemployment

And I could go on.

All that remains are ashes of the left’s hopes and a scar on the Constitution.

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