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These kinds of disclaimers in articles have interested me for years. Here are two from the same piece today:

“A senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to brief the media.”

“A foreign diplomat, likewise speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to brief the media.”

In other words, people blab who are actually not permitted to do so. Yet they spill the beans.

I realize these may not be just loose lips that could sink ships—sure, maybe this person is a maverick, but then again they may in reality be staff who were indeed “authorized” by org superiors to speak, just not as official spokesmen.

Why would an org do this? To test the waters. To gauge reactions. To preserve org plausible deniability. To distance superiors from any backlash. To plant narratives. That said, please note I am sharing this insight on condition of anonymity because I am not authorized to speak by anyone, at least no one in the Biden Admin.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021 *This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.

I’m not a fan of presidential impeachment.

1868: Andrew Johnson - 1999: Bill Clinton - 2019, 2021: Donald Trump.

1974, in the wake of Watergate, facing impeachment and near-certain conviction, Richard M Nixon announced his resignation. VP Gerald R Ford was sworn in.

If anyone deserved impeachment and a vote removing him from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” it was Nixon. But a month later, Ford famously pardoned Nixon. Ford was hammered for this and it likely cost him reelection. But I agreed with him and most others, much later, did as well. 

Now in 2021, people are saying Joe Biden should be impeached because the Afghanistan withdrawal was not the “extraordinary success” he called it but an embarrassing, deadly, unnecessary debacle, and still an ongoing threat to American security. 

I understand the anger and frustration. But impeachment isn’t the answer, nor is impeachment du jour good for the country.

Impeachments are partisan circuses and conviction is difficult. Just look at history. No impeached pres has been removed from office. More prescient than others, Ford knew a trial, even after Nixon departed, would simply divide the nation.

Impeachment would do that now, resulting in more harm than healing. 

If you think Biden did the best he could, then impeachment is an unwarranted distraction. If you think Biden did badly, even immorally, then impeachment is still a deal with the Devil; do you really want VP Kamala Harris as Pres?

Politicians can be held accountable in many ways. Best one, even with debates about voting integrity, is called an election.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

I’m not a person who gets embarrassed. Maybe that’s some chink in my armor. I don’t know.  But I’ve learned this about myself over the years.

I have to say that in the past couple of years, I confess I’ve periodically felt embarrassed for my country. 

—when a President acted boorishly on the world stage, making juvenile comments about, well, a lot of things. 

—when mayors, district attorneys, and sometimes governors blithely dismissed rioters, refusing to prosecute and hold them accountable before the law.

—when universities, corporations, and American elites rushed to adopt new sexual orientation and gender identity and critical race theory paradigms, ostensibly to demonstrate their woke virtue, but in actuality to preserve and develop their position and profit.

—when elected officials acted like wanna-be dictators, mandating a long list of lockdown restrictions in the name of public health.  

—when a President talks about the debacle in Afghanistan in alternative reality terms no one, except maybe those who report to him, believes is happening on the ground.

It’s not so much a matter of pride or patriotism as it is a sense of lost moral credibility, a loss of place and purpose in the world that looks to this last best hope for democracy.

Ideals are important. Losing them to hubris or irrational idealism is not something I find comforting.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

I read articles written by conservatives, liberals, and leftists, many of which now regularly resort to juvenile insults. Name-calling masquerading as erudition. 

Words like moron, maggot, idiot, their softer equivalents goon, clown, jerk, twit, the all-purpose hater, or the latest nasty epithet du jour are now the common parlance of pundits, politicians…and people on social media. Some even use vulgarities.

Former President Trump is a leading if not the lead example of this, but he’s not alone. Playground rhetoric has been used by the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Chuck Schumer, and many more politicians. It’s like there’s an arms race to see who can come up with the lowest, most childish nickname or rejoinder.

But what good is this kind of cheap shot? Calling someone with a different point of view a derogatory name doesn’t win the argument? It doesn’t encourage people to change their mind. Indeed, it can harden opposition. It only demeans, the speaker more than the recipient. 

Name-calling has tainted US politics since before there was a USA. But insults accomplished nothing back then, and they accomplish nothing now. They only divide, which is the enemy of consensus and achievement.

We can’t make others change, but we can raise the level of our own discourse. We can have a sense of self-respect that intentionally improves the caliber of our vocabulary and incisiveness of our critical thinking. We can never use juvenile name-calling again, which is what most of our Mothers told us in 1st Grade anyway.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

For all the noise, politics cannot offer solutions to most of America’s problems, which are not political but spiritual/moral.

E.g., breakdown of the family, abortion, child neglect, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, trafficking, alcohol, opioid, and drug abuse, sexuality/gender issues, poverty, crime, racism, pornography, etc. 

Solutions for these problems are matters of individual responsibility and accountability that come from our worldview, i.e., acknowledging God and truth, understanding right vs wrong, and making virtuous choices. 

James Madison said, “If there be no virtue among us, no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is an illusion.”

It’s not government’s role to instill virtue. This belongs to citizens and the church.

We’re losing this battle in many homes and certainly most schools, and churches too. The worldview being taught claims one’s circumstances are the source of problems, something outside ourselves: environment, family, government, anything but our choices. And wrong if it’s called that at all is not sin, which has been replaced by “bad luck” or victimhood or the medicalization of problems, etc.

Calling something sin sounds harsh or condemning, but if persons own their sin, they then can take personal responsibility and in turn have hope of real change through forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation. So, calling sin sin is actually a truthful way to offer hope. But if our bad experiences are always determined by something outside us we can’t control, we have no hope.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

A movement seeking to “erase” Donald J. Trump has emerged since he left the presidency. 

The on ramp for this initiative is Trump’s perceived responsibility for the January 6 Capitol Building riot. 

Today’s wave of purging the public space of sculptures and statues of people now deemed unacceptable is a new form of social repression. 

Cancel culture extends this beyond statues to a person’s reputation, job or potential for being hired, possibility of publishing, doing business of any kindseeking to silence voices through social mediaDo not hire lists of previous Trump administration staff are being created, which Karl Rove said was way too far and compared the blacklists to public shaming

One MSNBC analyst tweeted: “No book deals, no fellowships, no sinecures, no board seats for any of the henchmen and collaborators. No pundit gigs, no lecture circuit, no congressional runs, no professorships.”

Yet, “for over a century, publishers have played a leading role in defending free speech. In the 1920s, they challenged efforts to ban novels that became American classics. Random House defied obscenity laws to publish Ulysses. During the Cold War, publishers and librarians pushed back against efforts to censor “subversive” books and magazines by issuing the Freedom to Read Statement. In 1988, Viking Penguin published Satanic Verses and defended it from the Ayatollah’s fatwa and a worldwide campaign of terror.” Now, publishers are eagerly joining the cancel culture.

What many are now trying to do to people who worked in the Trump Administration is not unlike Amish shunning, an ultimate form of social avoidance for perceived crimes, or in this political instance for holding views not considered aligned with the prevailing acceptable narrative, or for daring to associate with someone now declared persona non grata by media and cultural elites.

Damnatio Memoriae

Then there’s the attempt to erase leaders from the pages of history, something ancient regimes did to the condemned.

Near the end of Pharaoh Thutmose III’s reign, between about 1479 and 1425 B.C., members of his regime attempted to erase the memory of Hatshepsut, his predecessor, co-regent and mother. Statues of Hatshepsut were smashed, her obelisks covered, and her cartouches removed from temple walls. As Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley told the BBC in 2011, Thutmose III could thereby “incorporate her reign into his own” and claim her accomplishment as his own. He could rewrite history.”

Obliterating the condemned in ancient Rome was called "damnatio memoriae," condemnation of memory, to be forgotten in official records, “to remove every trace of the person from life, as if they had never existed.”

Stalin removed the statues of other Communist leaders as he solidified his position in the Soviet Union. Ukraine dismantled 1,320 statues of Lenin after its independence, and renamed roads and structures named under Soviet authority.

Guy Beiner argued that iconoclastic vandalism entails subtle expressions of ambiguous remembrance and that, rather than effacing memory, such acts of decommemorating actually served to preserve memory. In other words, it backfires; erasing history doesn’t work.

The Scarlet Letter

Seeking to brand anyone who worked for or was associated with the Trump Administration is a modern form of the biblical mark of Cain or the Scarlet Letter.

Whatever one thinks of Mr. Trump or whatever one considers his culpability or responsibility for the Capitol riot, this new effort to erase him has more to do with seeking to banish certain ideas and values than it does about January 6. 

Proof of this is the Lincoln Project’s blacklist, pursuing all known associates who were doing their jobs on behalf of the American people, so they will be “held accountable & not allowed to pretend they were not involved.”

This blog is Not about defending Donald Trump; he can take care of himself. This piece is about the well-being of a free, open, and pluralistic society. If groups can “erase” Trump or anyone who worked for or was associated with him, then they can do this to you. 

And the point is, why should this be done at all? Cancel culture is based upon fear not freedom, power not persuasion. Trust the people, the free marketplace of ideas. If people don’t want more of Trump, they can act accordingly in the market. If they don’t want to buy a Trump staff person’s book, then they don’t have to buy the book. But others should not block its publication preventing those who want to buy the book from acquiring it. And so it goes.

Freedom is always the best option.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.