Derek Johnson Muses

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Why You Should “Watch” Your TV

Recently, I read a book on my Kindle called Primetime Propaganda by Ben Shapiro. It opened my eyes to the agendas of a lot of shows I liked. Turns out, the Hollywood left could be as extremist, intolerant, and cold-minded as they accuse the Tea Party of being, and probably more so.

I watch TV, and even if you are really conservative, you probably do too. TV has this addictive quality that I taste whenever I eat fast food: you just can’t get enough of it, and you can take the trashiness of it as you swallow (or watch) your favorites. Consuming liberal television does your mind what consuming fast food does to your waste-line.

Vanguardism is the buzzword in Hollywood. Those who inhabit the golden shores of Malibu and the sweeping lawns of Sunset Boulevard are of an almost uniform political bent-virtually all vote Democrat, fervently support gay marriage, see abortion as a sacrosanct human right, approve of higher taxes, despise religion, think guns are to blame for crime, maintain that businesspeople are corrupt and union organizers are saints, feel that conservatives are racists, sexists, and homophobes, and sneer at the rural right-wingers in ‘flyover country.’ Almost all voted for Barack Obama. Almost all hated George W. Bush.”

And we all let them into our living rooms, with subtle coded messages on our flat-screens. My conservative friends and Christian brethren, Hollywood hate us. Thanks be to God.

Shapiro also makes the point that Hollywood constantly derides big business when they are just that. And Hollywood fights for the same tax breaks that every other big business fights for and gets.

One of the most revealing parts of the book is how Hollywood has come up with every storyline about how gays are discriminated against. The writers take a story about they discriminate against conservatives, and make the conservatives the ones who discriminate.

“…the television industry is going to have to admit that it has a problem: it’s ideologically xenophobic. Most conservatives in Hollywood don’t work today…because liberals employ a mirror form of McCarthyism on a large scale…Outspoken conservatives are less likely to get jobs, as many of the liberal television folks I interviewed openly admitted…”

“They wouldn’t dare do to the same to blacks or gays who suggest discrimination in Hollywood, even though the evidence of such discrimination is far scantier. There is institutional bias against right-wingers in Tinsletown…”

In light of this, this part of the left shouldn’t be called liberal. Liberals are people who defend everyone’s right to speech and perspective and bringing in lots of opinion.  What this really shows is how insecure the people who make television are. If you have to slander and call your opponent nasty names and try to defeat them by saying they are a hateful person, it says that if their opinion is allowed to even be spoken, you can’t believe your own.

Reflecting on Shapiro’s book, I think a lot about how Christianity gets portrayed on TV, under the liberal protestant that subjects God to any force of mankind. Consider how Christian father Herschel is portrayed on The Walking Dead: when he comes on the show, he is portrayed as strong, faith-motivated person who uses his faith to stand up to Rick. But after the crisis of (Spoiler Alert) his zombified wife and son being gunned down, Herschel abandoned the effectiveness of his faith. He still reads scriptures with his daughters, but he stays out of the big decisions on the show.

And by the way, his daughter Maggie is a sexually promiscuous vixen who hops into bed with Glenn pretty quickly. Like Angela on The Office, TV seems to be telling the conservative Christians they can separate their faith and sexuality. This much worse than telling Christians that their faith isn’t valid. It’s telling them that faith can be secondary to liberal social views. It’s having a semblance of Jesus to justify your behavior.

Thankfully, there hasn’t been a TV show that I’ve really liked that’s come on in the last couple of years, but that’s probably because I’m burnt out on TV. I feel in love with the medium back in college, when Lost came on the air in the fall of my senior year and was Jurassic Park on the small screen. I loved Lost (through season 5), 24, How I Met Your MotherPrison Break, and shows I can’t even remember. In a lot of ways, those shows inspired me to be a writer. But I binged on those shows until I was fat as a hog.

I still watch TV, but I don’t expect it to fill me. I realize I need real food too.

Do Democrats Do the Most for the Poor?

Old House

Where Much is Needed

When I grew up, I didn’t have any depth and understanding to the politics of the democratic party. All I knew was that they supported a larger government and higher taxes, plus the evil of abortion. As I aged, went off to college, and watched more news, I became more acquainted with the ins-and-outs and the nuances of American, even becoming surprised to learn that there were many Christians who thought that Democrats were the better party, because of their emphasis on social programs that support the poor. I took this with a shrug but found it odd.

But upon some recent contemplation, I’ve come to believe that because the Democrats’ support is actually because they don’t care about the overall well being of the poor. They support these programs because they favor a society driven by the whim of fleeting emotions and sexual passions, not one that provides sustainable support systems for those who are least fortunate.

Not everyone has the same gifts in life. There are a lot of people whose gifts are to do skilled labor or are to work in a service industry, which they do with all their hearts. They are not like the leaders of our country or industries, who go to sleep thinking about their work and their employees; once their forty hours a week are done, they go home with a clear mind. This work is not any less valuable than work that is done at the highest levels, even though its monetary value is much less. (Cite the Doctrine of Vocation.)

So the question becomes, what happens when these people go through a poor experience in their lives? If you have a health crisis or get laid off in this country, you’re going to have a lot of bills for it. So what do you do? How should uncle Billy be cared for when he’s in a construction accident? This is were the programs of the “great society” come and say, “Here, the government can’t just let uncle Billy suffer under the weight of his medical bills.”

But let’s look at it from another angle: what if there were an organization in our society that could care for uncle Billy, without incurring the massive health care costs and will keep his job for him? What if he had a brother, parents, and children to chip in while he recovered? Again, let me go to my personal experience: I was wandering around after college when my father welcomed me into his business. Because I had a family, I was able to recover from the issues I faced from quitting one career track prematurely and move into another one at a time that was best for me.

While my story is just my own, it represents this point: families can be the greatest source of stability for the lower members of society. And who makes a better judge of what a person needs in a time of crisis, a close family member or a large sterile government, who comes in and makes quick, mass judgments?

Obviously, the federal government can’t go out tomorrow and eliminate every entitlement program, or our country would collapse under its own weight. Was Obamacare necessary? I would argue the problem is real, the solution is debatable. The medical industry itself could benefit from a change in perspective, from an attitude of always gunning for the best care and biggest profits, to an attitude of how can we serve everyone who needs care.

But for the life of me, I can’t understand why social conservatives don’t make the thesis of their arguments “sexual looseness and no fault, easy divorce are class-ism and a war on the impoverished.” Granted, some of this is probably the liberal media and television, but still, if you want to make your case more successfully, just say sleeping around is the cause of class gap. That will get people’s attention, and give you a better chance of winning.

Because the government programs that feed the poor aren’t there because of the poor; they are there because the rich people in our country, democrats and republicans, wish to live in sexual debauchery, and a society full of sexual whimseys is bound to have lost and divided members, living as units unto their own selves who are going to need assistance. When the natural family gets destroyed, the poor are made to suffer.

So all you rich people, go out and get your divorce and say it was “all for the best” because you can afford it. Just know that the result of fighting for this kind of revolution leaves the weakest members of our society at risk.

Appealing Flaws

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Matthew 23:23 (ESV)
John Grisham’s novel The Appeal, while a work of liberal propaganda, raises many issues conservatives must confront. Grisham, a self-described moderate baptists who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 election, draws his lines clearly, using a tort case against a big company: on the one side, there are the big corporations who use “Christian values” to mask their agenda of advantages for the rich. Then there’s the real church, the one that’s concerned with helping the poor above all else. Just judges, in Grisham’s mind, will always take the side of helping the poor. While I do think that helping the poor needs to be an important part of the judicial system, Grisham draws too many generalities when it comes to religion and excludes the obvious connection between the liberal philosophy he’s advocating and abortion.

Grisham’s perspective, however flawed, does provide insight as to how the Democrats have won the upper hand in the current political arena: cast them as rich, out-of-touch bureaucrats who use empty values to mask greed. Jack Donaghy has done as much to ruin Republicans’ image as George W. Bush did. Growing up, I always thought of Republicans as a party primarily defined by religious, traditional values, but political parties are much more complex. In light of the financial crisis where big corporations share much of the blame, it does give me second thought about the party I belong to. Truth be told, I get my political news from SNL most of the time. Being a true Lutheran, I’m politically apathetic.

Politics aside, there is a bigger problem in this regard, and Grisham takes advantage of American’s (and even Christian’) lack of religious knowledge). There’s more to churches than just large, suburban, and callous, and urban and outreach oriented . Grisham writes little about specific beliefs in The Appeal, andI wonder if he would be surprised to find out that churches who preach social activism over Christ forty years ago are now dying off in America.

As Lutheran, I understand this personally. My own church body, the LCMS, while trying to resolve its issues, has congregational practice that can vary quite a bit from congregation to congregation, and with that, teaching also can very. Not to get into that debate, but churches just can’ be judged actions only. Their teachings (and specifics) should be debated too.

Yes, many Christians have abandoned missions in the cities for houses in the suburbs. Repentance is needed, but we cannot go into these neighborhoods with just food and money. If we don’t preach Christ to these people, than they are worse off than before. This is something that cuts at me personally, because my own church body, while doing notable acts for the poor, does have a track record of pushing doctrine, sometimes too hard.

As far as cases like the one Grisham describes, sadly there are instances where families who suffer injuries aren’t compensated fairly by the courts system. But the judicial liberalism that Grisham advocates for victims is the same logic that legalized abortion, which in many ways slaps the poor in the face by telling them, “The world doesn’t have room for your unexpected babies.” Grisham subtly ignores this fact and does his readers a great disservice by doing so.

But conservatives should read and deal with the issues raised inTthe Appeal, because these are the tactics that lifestyle left are using in their arguments against them. The winning side of a political debate isn’t the one that’s right, merely the one who frames its argument the best.

Sarah Palin’s problems are of attitude, not from the liberal media

Game Face

Last week, I watched Game Change clips on YouTube, which lead to a re-watching Steve Schmidt’s  60 Minutes interview about the McCain/Palin campaign. I’m mostly Republican in my views, but after reviewing all that the video, I have to admit-Sarah Palin is kind of train wreck who has invited a lot of scorn on the Republican party, in the same way that George W. Bush did by being an insular President.

Don’t get me wrong: I still think Palin is a great Republican spokesperson and I’ve heard a lot of women say how much they admire her as a symbol of the conservative, Republican women who doesn’t support abortion and automatically take the feminist position. I respect that about her, and if she wants to be on Fox News and host a radio show for the rest of her life, that’s great. What I don’t respect about Palin is her lack of personal responsibility when she has to deal with criticism, like the Katie Couric interview.

After the Couric interview-disaster, Schmidt told Palin that the reason it didn’t go well was that she had spent the time she should have been preparing for that interview answering written questions from a local newspaper in Alaska. That reveals two flaws-Palin has no time management skills and cares too much about insignificant details. Palin’s response that CBS edited the interview to make her look bad shows is a key lack of a leadership attribute: humility and personal responsibility. If Palin were to come out and say, “I really did underprepare for that interview. I made a mistake, and I’m sorry for hurting Senator McCain and my supporters”, it would effectively end the story. It wouldn’t make Palin a better national candidate, but the “lamestream” media would no longer have a real reason to criticize her.

Confession: I get a lot of my political analysis from Saturday Night Live, but it’s undeniable, even based on their skits, that the Palin fallout has involved a lot of mediocre candidates jumping at the race for president. Maybe it’s just a down election cycle, but perhaps Palin’s tough talk, whining at her smarter opponents have emboldened the Rick Perrys and Mitt Romney to run like they actually know something.

As a conservative, I see how CNN and the other national publications slant liberal and trash conservatives (see the coverage of religious leaders testifying before congress for the right to have a conscious), but Palin’s stratagy of offering up vague condemnations isn’t going to work. She needs to have the humility to admit she wouldn’t be a great national leader

For Palin, I truly hope that she does find a calling as a speaker. Ironically, she needs to hear the same that those who occupy Wall Street do: contentment. Sarah Palin doesn’t have the A-lister drive to be President, but her acceptance of her limitations will be the key to how much influence she can have.

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