Hello, Angelo. I’ve been slammed these past few days. Sorry I couldn’t get back to your comments on our Wall sooner. This is, by far, my longest response to a FB post – because I wanted to take the time to speak the truth, in love – even though it is a challenge when someone does what you did. You and I go way back, to our high school days. In respect for our friendship, and in response to the way you chose to go into attack mode after our not seeing or connecting with each other in more than 30 years, I am responding. Not in kind, but with kindness, focusing on facts, not feelings, and truth, not lies. I’m saddened that you chose to reintroduce yourself as you did after we lost touch so long ago.
Instead of “Hi, Mike, it’s Angelo, and it’s good to reconnect with you on FB. How have you been?” or something similar, your opening salvo was to call me a “fraud” and go into attack mode. Is it so important for you to “win” that you are willing to lose the bigger battle? Instead of extending an olive branch, you drew a sword. I simply want to tell you that I love you as a friend, even though your views and outlook on life differ from mine dramatically. Even though you were unkind in how you reconnected. I have, from time to time, wondered how you were doing through the years. Now I know. I have wished you well, not harm.
It’s nice, in some regard, to reconnect with you. It’s given me a chance to reflect a little on our high school friendship, and to spend some time considering the significant changes that God brought about in my life since I accepted Christ. My life transformation has been more akin to that of a crock-pot than a microwave. I stumbled in many ways for many years. It took time for Christ to get a strong hold of me, and I am thankful that He is still in the process of making me over. Without Him, I’m confident I’d be a complete mess today. Every good thing I have going for me is because of Him, not me. I was heading in the wrong direction, and I’m glad that God provided a detour at just the right time. I’m glad He doesn’t give up on us.
I hope you and your family are doing well, and that you are enjoying your time managing your farm. It seems that you are remarried and have a wonderful family. To everyone within, Janet and I extend our warmest wishes to each of you, and perhaps we will indeed have a chance to meet sometime in the future.
You and I shared great deal of laughter together, and I recall some very great, memorable times. Accordingly, I’m disappointed that in the 30 plus years since we last spoke or saw each other, you chose to make your grand reintroduction as you did on FB by calling me a “fraud.” That saddens me. You missed an opportunity to be a gentleman.
STICKS, STONES AND NAME-CALLING
Your attempt to discredit me through name-calling is nothing more than a page out of Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” (Rule #5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon”). But that doesn’t work when someone isn’t affected by ridicule, and a growing number of people are learning to not be intimidated by the name-calling of people bent on the practice. Truth speaks for itself. Alinsky said, “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself” (Rule #9). You made big threats in your FB posts, but your delivery has come up lacking.
People resort to name-calling when they don’t have a strong case. That’s why you resorted to it with me. I never called you a single name, because it isn’t helpful nor necessary when one has the truth. If calling out someone’s false statements were name-calling, parenting would be nothing more than a demeaning endeavor. It is often necessary to point out the misguided behavior of children, and to do so by addressing their conduct and words. Doing so is a labor of love, not hatred, for the betterment of the child(ren) and those who may be affected by their behavior. Sometimes, as in the case with you, it is necessary to do the same for adults who promote false, misleading and divisive information, and who try to intimidate people by calling names when facts are lacking.
We both know that your repeatedly addressing me as “minister Mike” and “Reverend Mike” is an attempt not at respect, but contempt – but it doesn’t offend me in the least. You actually became your own illustration of how The Resistance often operates, and for that, I thank you. I couldn’t have presented a better example. It’s an honor to be a pastor. I love my flock and they love me. The attempt to belittle me through sarcasm doesn’t diminish my resolve to stand my ground – because I’m speaking both within and beyond the limitations of being a pastor.
Unfortunately, you still relish fighting, even after all these years – but you haven’t learned to do it without resorting to personal attacks and sound reasoning. I will speak the truth, but I will do it with love. When one knows the truth, one doesn’t have to resort to underhanded tactics and attempts to tear other people down.
The Resistance demands respect, but they need to learn how to extend it to others. Apparently, you share their struggle in more ways than one. I would have been delighted to grab lunch with you, catch up on your family life, and listen to all the things God and life have been teaching you these past decades. That, for me, would be the larger story of two friends reconnecting on FB. But you don’t seem to get it. You can’t see the forest through the trees. You just want to fight.
CARING FOR CHILDREN & REAL HOPE AND CHANGE
I’m deeply concerned about my children, and America. I think most parents do, so let’s not try to make the case that liberals care more than conservatives, or vise-versa. Parents from all walks of life care for their children, and many good people disagree. Everyone should be concerned about America, our children, and our future – but that’s not enough to bring about positive change. There is a verse in the Bible that perfectly applies to what is happening in our nation:
“But if you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out, or you will be consumed by each other.” – Galatians 5:15
If people in this nation do not begin to adopt a fundamentally different way of expressing disagreement, we’re toast. I’m concerned about our Congress, our judges, our current President, and the other major party candidate who could have wound up as President if Mr. Trump weren’t the one elected. Real love cares for all people, not a select few. And, it is not unloving to express disagreement. It’s unloving to disagree distastefully.
If you’re still putting your hope in people and political parties, that’s where the problem lies. Our whole nation is dirty, and your arrogance here on FB, by the way you chose to make your grand entry here on our Wall to a former friend, perfectly illustrates the problem. People do not know how to disagree without resorting to name-calling, hatred, and vehemence, as you did. It doesn’t prove an argument. It proves nothing but the anger, bitterness and fear of the people calling names. You wound up being your own best example against your own case.
It’s important that you understand that bullying, belittling tactics won’t be effective here. We are not in high school any more. If you punch, we will respond with truth and love, because the end of the day, they win. Name-calling doesn’t win arguments. It only divides and reflects poorly on the person punching with low blows.
CONVINCING DEBATE REQUIRES FACTS AND SUPPORT
If we were in court, your case would thrown out for insufficient evidence. Saying something is a fact does not make it so – yet this is what so many people do today. They make statements as if they are fact, and then say they are fact, and most people don’t question them. It’s circular reasoning, and it doesn’t prove anything. It’s exactly what you did in your posts.
I’m not sure if you are still practicing law or simply supervising a law office these days. In either instance, I was prepared for a far more lucid, intelligent argument from you, even after you boasted of your ability to present “facts” and your aggressive, unsolicited challenge to “debate” me. I believe you were prematurely confident. You were so incapable of presenting a fresh, compelling case. And, after all the build-up to how you were going to present “facts” to us, and “teach” us here on FB, your response was completely anticlimactic.
There is nothing new in your points of view – or the ways in which you presented them. All you did was present the same talking points, innuendo, and smoke that the alt-left keeps throwing up with a healthy dose of contempt for the person who disagrees with you. Doing so doesn’t prove one’s point. You don’t want equality, you want dominance, no matter what the price. Your behavior reminds me of Nikita Khrushchev, who defiantly slammed his shoe on the podium at the UN years ago, shattering it. He was angry, and he was opinionated, but his anger was a boomerang that came back at him. Today, he is remembered for his arrogance and anger above every other one of his accomplishments.
Your underhandedness and anger reflect back on no one but you and The Resistance you say you are part of. Perhaps Mr. Khrushchev is a hero of yours. He may very well be, since you believe bigger and bigger government and belittling behavior are the means toward conquest. One day, the same big government that you want to be in control of every area of our lives will be in control of your life and the lives of your children. By that time, it will be too late.
You assume you disagree with me on nearly all points. You are mistaken, and have acted presumptuously. If we disagree on anything it’s this: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Answer, and you believe that government is God. You believe that more government, more government intrusion, higher taxes, more control, will solve our problems. History proves otherwise. And, in my saying that Jesus Christ is the answer, I’m not saying that organized religion is the answer. That’s also failed us in some considerably significant ways. There have been plenty of hypocrites in the world – but recovering hypocrites are all that God has ever had to use in His pottery barn. The only perfect Person was, and is, Jesus Christ.
Politicians, lawyers, plumbers, carpenters, school teachers and the rest of us are all in the same boat. Full surrender to Jesus Christ, not more religion or more government, is what America needs.
As far as Kathy Griffin’s beheading depiction being “sarcasm,” (I think you meant to call it satire), even CNN, whose views more often align more with the left than they do the right, agreed that her behavior was out of line. They fired her: http://www.vanityfair.com/style/2017/05/kathy-griffin-controversy-cant-outlast-trump-misstep. It’s not simply people who don’t embrace the far Left agenda who recognized her behavior as wrong. It’s a matter of common sense and human dignity.
Lest you make the mistake of thinking I don’t care about the depictions of President Obama that were racist and offensive, I want to caution you to be careful about making assumptions. I have regularly rebuked people, and even banned them from our FB page, for saying or posting things that are disrespectful, racist and hateful of Pres. Obama and others. I have been, and will continue to be, a person who denounces disrespectful behavior regardless of the vehemence with which one may disagree with policies or even character. Two wrongs never make something right.
EVIDENCE, NOT A #DOUBLESTANDARD
In regard to President Clinton, there was evidence that he did things in the oval office unbecoming of our Chief Executive. In regard to Mrs. Clinton, she violated the law by using a personal server while in one of the highest offices in America. That is not an accusation. It is supported by evidence. In regard to Mr. Trump, please don’t assume I’m supporting him, blindly. I am not. Don’t assume I will support him if it is proven that he colluded with the Russians and undermined the 2016 election. I will be in the very same camp as you, demanding his impeachment and removal from office if evidence is produced that proves his guilt. But the issue is indeed one of evidence. And here is your golden opportunity to provide it, since no one has yet been able to do it. How, specifically, did Mr. Trump collude with the Russians to undermine the outcome of our national election? What did Mr. Trump do, specifically? Facts and evidence are what’s needed.
So far, all the American people have continued to hear from the left is that he “colluded” or “conspired.” But no one has thus far given the specifics. Here’s your chance: provide them. You may even become famous in doing so, because even the highly respected Democrat legal wizard, Alan Dershowitz, urged Americans to move on and stop accusing Mr. Trump of crime. Here’s a helpful link you can use to educate yourself from the very successful, brilliant, Dershowitz: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2017/06/09/democrat-alan-dershowitz-time-to-move-on–stop-accusing-trump-of-a-crime-for-exercising-his-constitutional-authority-n2338775.
You wrote, “That document (the constitution) is my (B)ible and when you quote it inappropriately you should be called on it.” The only problem, Angelo, is that you need to do more of what Mr. Dershowitz has done, and is known for, and become a student of the Constitution. You can’t school others on what you haven’t studied. If you want to “teach” others a subject, you need to know it first. You don’t.
Until such time as facts and evidence are produced, the whole point of my other blog, wherein you called me a “fraud,” is that in America, a person is innocent until proven guilty. Mr. Clinton was innocent as well – until the evidence was provided. You disproved your own argument by comparing apples with screwdrivers.
THE RUSSIAN COLLUSION AND THE EMOLUMENTS CLAUSE
In regard to the extreme Left’s infatuation with the Trump Russian collusion charge, I find it absolutely fascinating. The far Left is all about more government, more control, higher taxes. Government is the big brother, the new God, the Almighty to whom everyone needs to bow down and worship. You want the government to do everything, from planning people’s families, to planning their retirement, to planning which doctor they can see and afford, and so much more. You should be applauding the morphing of America into communist Russia. Instead, you are practicing a #doublestandard.
Pretty soon, if you have it your way, we might as well be a communist nation. Call it “progressive” all you want, but the far Left agenda is completely regressive, anti-American, and bad any way you slice it. So, stop crying foul over the possibility that Mr. Trump helped the Russians steal the election, provide the evidence, and then have a party for cracking the case. The quickest way to the socialist agenda would be for Mr. Trump to collude with the Russians to undermine our nation and make it one where Communism wins. You should be happy, not angry. You’re missing a golden opportunity to celebrate the radical Left’s agenda of controlling the masses.
As for our Constitution’s Article 1 “Emoluments Clause,” and President Trump’s potential violation, you may very well be right. But then again, you may entirely wrong. As of the date of this post, it is too early to reach that conclusion. Many people, with far more knowledge of the Constitution than you, agree. The fact is that I agree with them, and they have a solid Constitutional basis upon which I base my position. At this particular time, it would be misguided to say we are wrong in our hesitancy to cast a stone.
On the other hand, I share your concern about the President’s possible misconduct more deeply than you assume. Where you went wrong, again, is in assuming that I am a blind supporter of the President. I am not. It is morally and legally wrong to presume guilt apart from following the process outlined in our Constitution. The difference between how I am approaching this and how you are approaching it is a matter of Constitutional procedure. If the President broke the Emoluments Clause, Congress can take action, in keeping with the Constitution – much as it did in the case of Pres. Clinton when he was impeached, but not removed from office. If the President is found guilty, then it is what it is. He’s guilty and will suffer the consequences. However, neither you nor I are Congress. And, even though you are a local attorney, you are neither a Senator, Representative, nor a Judge. You are not a Constitutional law expert, so please don’t try to act like one. This is for Congress to decide, and no one else.
Is Mr. Trump guilty? As of the date of this post, even the Washington Post is uncertain. To see the article for yourself, you can visit here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/what-is-the-emoluments-clause-does-it-apply-to-president-trump/2017/01/23/12aa7808-e185-11e6-a547-5fb9411d332c_story.html?utm_term=.b2da06e33b7c. In the meantime, I think its essential to our national integrity to let due process take it’s course, and for everyone to not rush to judgment.
As I wrote in the blog you are referencing “An Open Letter to America: Why Innocent Until Proven Guilty Still Matters,” it’s a very bad thing for the nation to throw aside the Constitution, as you have already done by rushing to judgment without letting the Constitutional process play out. So much for it being your “Bible.” As an attorney, and perhaps as someone who once had presidential aspirations, you know better – at least you should.
If you want to debate, then you need to how to do it fairly, and with great effect. Do it with kindness, in light of a former friendship that would not be difficult to rekindle. Extend an olive branch, not a sword. I never said – nor will I ever say – that President Obama is a Muslim – but I will say that he certainly gave the right hand of fellowship to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was, and is, heavily involved in persecuting Christians in Egypt. I care about that, because religious persecution – of any religion – is not American. Furthermore, it is beneath the fact that every human being is created in the image of God.
I absolutely hate that President Trump said things about women, as revealed on tape. Please read that again, because this really needs to sink in. Please don’t assume I approve of his comments, because I most certainly don’t. His words were reprehensible. I know that before I found Christ I said and did terrible things. Reconnecting with you on FB has given me opportunity to thank Jesus Christ that He turned my life around before I would have surely ruined it, saying and doing things that ought not to be said and done. You know as well as I do that our teenage and college years were filled with endeavors that were far from honoring toward women. I find it more than a little ironic that you are trying to express your concern over President Trump’s statements about women, as if you have spotless track record in this regard. Do you?
WE ALL NEED A BATH
Last year, I put out a call for The National Week of Repentance. We did it twice and it was amazingly successful. It marked the first time in American history that people in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. participated in a week-long event geared toward personal reflection and repentance. But it also spilled to overseas. Other countries like China, Switzerland, Germany, Grenada, Canada and more participated. We are holding another this September, and we anticipate that it will garner even more participation at this key time when our entire country needs a bath. You may be surprised to know that it was largely directed toward Christians. Many of us have been trying to get people to follow and love a Jesus we haven’t been following and loving very closely. It’s flat out wrong. Am I now playing politics, playing favorites? Christ compels me to be objective, not neutral. This is why Christ is the Solution to America’s woes. He’s the Solution to yours, too.
In reality, our entire nation needs a bath – Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Progressives, the alt-right, the alt-left, white people, black people and everyone in-between. Why? Because sin is deep and it is widespread. Jesus said that the primary characteristic in the world before His return would be a marked lack of love:
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” – Matthew 24:12
One of the greatest evidences of the Bible’s accuracy is that Jesus spoke those words more than 2,000 years ago – and they are coming true to the letter. Our nation needs a bath, and no one is exempt. The name-calling, accusations, hatred, racism and #doublestandards need to stop. I want to be part of the solution, and when I see someone practicing the very things that are contributing to our demise, I stand up and speak out about them. The National Week of Repentance is one of the ways I want to be part of the solution to our problems. I encourage you to participate, and to encourage others to do the same. If we are honest with ourselves, each other, and God, the truth is that we need truth more now than ever. Without divine intervention, our country is in trouble. I’m hopeful that in the future you’ll be more tactful and diplomatic. I hope that my response to you will make you think a bit more about what life is about. It’s not about tearing people down. Even when you disagree, and when you disagree strongly.
FUTURE DEBATES WITH YOU AND WELL-WISHES
As for debating you in person, you didn’t demonstrate knowledge or an effective presentation of facts in your posts. You do not have the platform or the diplomacy that would merit the energy and the time it would take to set up a debate with you. Please do check back here, on Godfactor.com, and the redesigned CourageMatters.com (which we will re-launch later this week) and you will have opportunity to see people with genuine credentials, who understand the issues, and who can articulate their views with tact and diplomacy – even when they disagree strongly. I think it would be helpful for you to take some time to observe that, so you can learn from their ability to disagree with dignity, respect and humility, even when they passionately disagree.
I hope the remaining years of your life are filled with peace, happiness, and the ability to discuss differences with people in ways that are mature, kind and respectful. Try to be a catalyst for unity, not division. Stop the name-calling, and try to find common ground. Learn to be . . . nice. You will find that people will reciprocate in kind. Be open-mined to the truth, even if it hurts your ego to acknowledge it. In the end, truth should be a bipartisan pursuit, and that’s what America needs. I hope you seek ways to be a healthy communicator, and to operate with objectivity, not bias. Our nation needs it. Friendships require it.
Maybe we’ll see each other at our next reunion. Or, better yet, I’d love to buy you lunch if you are ever in York. Please let me know when you might like to come to town. I’d love to have you visit our church, too. I’d welcome the chance to meet you and your family in person, and to introduce you to my wife and children.
You are always welcome to post on our FB wall and blog – if you can communicate more respectfully, put sarcasm and Saul Alinsky’s tactics aside, and present solid, supported statements with tact and diplomacy. If you can’t, we’re not obligated to let you chime in here and kick up dust. This is a living room, not a bathroom. Posting here is a privilege, not a right.