On Shame and Shakedowns

Writing ImageI just counted the tabs that appear across the top of my computer screen, those websites that I check regularly, and I seem to have fourteen, not counting OakTara (my publisher), Amazon, and Goodreads. Seven are websites I maintain, adding new content on a regular basis, and seven are sites to which I occasionally submit. 

My latest addition is Liberty Island (www.LibertyIslandmag.com), a site supporting conservative fiction authors. I recently posted the first chapter of my novel-in-progress, The Fire Trail. Last night I read a short story that so closely mirrored my own family experience (my husband and I are way outnumbered by vocal leftists), I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry with relief: “Caravaggio’s Isaac” by Scott Steward Smith. The story therapeutically re-enacted some of my own life trauma.

Words matter. Ideas matter. Words and ideas drive and form culture.

I haven’t seen Dinesh D’Souza’s movies yet, but I am looking forward to them. Jay Nordlinger recently wrote about D’Souza in National Review (July 21, 2014), saying that D’Souza contends that “the shaming of America is related to the shakedown of America.” Many liberals, with the power of the media to pummel conservatives, accuse and judge America, exaggerating the dark side of our history and twisting the truth, not telling the full story. They say we steal, we commit genocide, we enslave, we conquer, we degrade. This is the one-sided “narrative” told again and again in our schools and our news outlets and our books and our movies. Many generations have been raised on this self-loathing. Many are ashamed to be Americans.

The dictionary defines “shakedown” as the act of taking or restructuring through threats or deception. Accuse Americans even falsely and they feel guilty, regardless of the injustice of the accusation. When they feel guilty, they open their wallets. They vote the ticket that absolves their guilt, regardless of unwise policy, regardless of harm to our country. Many wealthy find the shaming and shakedown of America agreeable. They feel guilty also, but it is the guilt of the rich, and their guilt is absolved. They use their play money to support those who tell the story they want to hear, regardless of what works to grow our country, protect our country, or advance world peace and prosperity.

So through this shaming, America is deceptively taken and restructured.

And in this restructuring, the creation of a culture without free speech, without the institutions of family and church, will, ironically, eventually silence even the press that now appears to support the shakedown. And they don’t seem to see it coming.

Words matter. Story matters. When an unborn baby is called a fetus it is easier to kill it. It is an it not a he or a her and has no rights greater than the mother’s convenience. Other words make it easier to submit. Her “convenience” becomes an issue of “health.” She is making a “choice.” One could also say a murderer makes a “choice.” But the right to choose resonates with our desire for freedom. It sounds good. Words matter. We feel for the woman with an unplanned pregnancy. It might limit her options in life. That’s one side. But the child might open new worlds to her. That’s the other side we don’t hear. We want to absolve her of her guilt, soon to be grief, by saying it is her “choice.” We are a caring people. The liberals accuse, “For shame, pro-lifers, you do not care enough. You are warring against women.” Warring? When a new life is created and protected? Sounds like pro-lifers are defending women. Shakedown. Threats and deception. Words matter.

We should not be ashamed of America. We aren’t perfect, no nation is, no person is. But we must acknowledge what is good about our country in order to preserve it and water and feed it, in order to survive even flourish in a world that could quite possibly destroy our freedom and our way of life. We must be respectful and honorable, law-abiding, law-giving, law-enforcing. We must practice courtesy, return manners to our discourse, whether personal or national. We must wait our turn, not cut in line, share from love and not coercion. We must care for one another, giving generously to charity. We must encourage creative enterprise, inspire the next generation to use the minds and hearts God has given them to make a better world. We must vote, armed with knowledge of the issues and the candidates. We must be responsible to our nation, to our communities, to our families. We must support religious institutions that provide the myriad of services we take for granted in a democracy, from hospitals to schools to soup kitchens.

And most importantly we must be unashamed to speak, to use words and tell stories while we can, tell the truth about our country, our people, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God.

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