On my way home from Elkins on Jan. 8, I called Billie Sipes, one of our WV Patriots coordinators, to discuss our upcoming monthly meeting. In the course of our conversation, she asked if I had heard about U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords being shot. This was only hours after the shooting. Billie commented to me, they are already blaming us (TEA Party groups) for the shooting. When I arrived at home and began reading the various articles, and there were already numerous articles available, I could not believe the hatred that was being leveled against people who had nothing whatsoever to do with this terrible tragedy. The very accusations being made about Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, the TEA Party and others on the right were much more inflammatory than any comments ever made by these individuals or groups. For Sheriff Dupnik to level accusations against "Rush Limbaugh and people like him" even before he has had time to speak to the suspect is irresponsible and foolish. No time was wasted, even within hours of the tragedy, for the politicians and the media to seize the opportunity to further their cause. As President Obama's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, stated a couple of years ago, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
Now that the dust has settled and much more is known about Jared Loughner, most recognize that he was a troubled young man with serious mental health issues. As his friend Zach Osler pointed out, his actions were not fueled by partisan politics or rhetoric. "He did not watch TV, he disliked the news, he didn't listen to political radio and he didn't take sides ..."
Loughner's ideology would actually reflect more of a view to the left, if it made any sense at all, with his Marxist/Communist positions and his nihilist/atheist beliefs. A true and serious look at his ideology reveals a young man who is a product of a society that leaves our young people morally and spiritually inept. Did his parents take him to church or teach him God's word (Deuteronomy 6: 6-8)? Probably not. Did he bow his head in the classroom and pray to the God he said did not exist? Probably not. Where was the church or Christian neighbor that could have shared the love and salvation of Christ with this troubled young man? Our society has asked God to leave everything from the schoolhouse to the White House and then wonders how such tragedies culminate in our young people. We need not wonder. God's word warns, "Remove not the ancient landmarks, which thy fathers have set" (Proverbs 22:28 KJV).
We as a nation, our communities and our families would do well to remember the foundations that made this nation great: God's word and the Constitution. Take time to read the "ancient landmarks" etched in the buildings and memorials throughout our Capitol and those written in the documents of our Founding Fathers.
In the wake of this tragedy, we hear the cry for civility in our dialogue and debate. Both sides of the political spectrum have used terms of war and battle, which is not uncommon in the political arena, and even the Bible calls Christians to battle. Did this insight Loughner? I think not. There is no indication whatsoever that the words or the displays of battle had any part in this tragedy. Honest and heated debate is necessary considering the seriousness and gravity of the issues facing our nation. When you add to the issues the fact that the two political spectrums are worlds apart, this adds fuel to the fire. Our president without question is a great orator as we have once again seen and heard at the memorial service for the victims of this tragedy. His eloquent call for the healing of our nation was appropriate and necessary at this time. However, in the course of his speech, the call went forth, "We can be better." Within this statement lies the basis of the problem that fuels the debate. What President Obama and those on the left consider must be done to be "better" is diametrically opposed to what "better" means to most on the right. Much is being said about compromise to accomplish this "better" America. I would ask, how do we compromise on such volatile issues? How do you compromise on a $14 trillion deficit, most of which we owe to our enemies? How do you compromise on the right of life to the unborn? They are either murdered or they are allowed to live. Marriage is either between a man and a woman or there is no marriage, it is physically impossible in any other relationship. The debate is heated because the issues are volatile and there is no ground for compromise. Our nation is truly divided, and if we are to survive, we must return to the creator and Constitution which made our nation great.
As you listen to the rhetoric and debate in Washington and Charleston, look beyond the words and consider the actions and platform of the representatives. What experience do they have? Are they career politicians? How have they voted in the past? Where do they go to church or do they go to church? Remember, actions speak louder than words. Manchin is on his "Call to Common Sense" tour. This sounds great; most West Virginians are very common-sense people. However, just as President Obama's "we can be better" statement, what does Manchin mean by "common sense"? The answer begins with the appointment Manchin sent to Washington to represent West Virginia in the Senate. Former Sen. Carte Goodwin cast every vote with Obama's agenda. Now Manchin has filled the seat and the same "common sense" voting continues. Manchin's first vote was for the most liberal Senate leader our nation has ever known, Harry Reid. Since that vote, Manchin has cast all but one vote to further Obama's liberal agenda. When the issue of "don't ask, don't tell" came up for a second vote, Manchin was conveniently absent. From what Manchin has shown us so far, his "common sense" is the same as President Obama's "better" America; big government power and control that is absent of the morals and principles of God's word and the Constitution.
As long as America remains diametrically divided, the debate will be heated and most likely unresolved. "We the People" must be informed and engaged. Our representatives and Americans as a whole must understand what true "common sense" is and how we will once again have a "better" America. We must return to those ancient landmarks.
(Editor's note: House, a pastor, is the local coordinator for the WVPatriots. The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain. He is a graduate of Liberty University with a Master of Arts in marriage and family counseling. Those interested in becoming a community columnist may contact Editor Linda Howell Skidmore by phone at 304-636-2124.)