Sunday, August 30, 2020

Republican Convention Appealed to Average, Everyday American!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Last week was the 2020 Republican National Convention.  Originally planned for Charlotte, NC and then moved to Jacksonville, FL and then canceled due to COVID-19, the ‘business’ portion of the convention was in Charlotte on Monday.  336 of the 2,550 duly elected delegates cast the ballots of their state’s delegates by proxy unanimously for President Trump and Vice President Pence.  Both then spoke to the group.  The GOP platform from 2016 was rolled over to 2020.  After the business portion was complete, the convention then moved to Washington and the Mellon auditorium.

     In four days, the Grand Ole Party had 70 speakers, including the two nominees.  Some of the more notable and memorable ones were: U.S. Senator Tim Scott, (R-SC), Alice Johnson(a criminal justice reform activist who served 21 years in jail), Rep. Jim Jordan, (R-Ohio), Ann Dorn(a St. Louis police captain’s widow), Andrew Pollack(daughter was killed in school shooting),  Nicholas Sandmann(a young man harassed for wearing a MAGA cap), Jon Ponder(former felon who runs a non-profit to help former inmates), First Lady Melania Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence.  Four of President Trump’s children spoke as well as a daughter-in-law.  Three observations: 

     First, law and order will be a major theme of the 2020 Trump campaign.  Several speakers spoke of President Trump’s support of law enforcement.    None more compelling than Pat Lynch, president of the NYC police union.  “There is no other choice than Donald Trump when it to the safety of all Americans,” Lynch said.  Lynch criticized Democrats of walking about from police when they voted to defund.  “They have made it hard for officers to do their jobs effectively,” Lynch said.  This issue puts a squeeze on Biden.  The radical left wing of the Democratic Party is preaching defunding- the more moderate wing law and order.  Biden needs a united Party to win.  Law and order is a winning issue for Trump.

     Second, Trump is not conceding the minority vote in 2020.  From Secretary Ben Carson to Senator Tim Scott to U.N. Ambassador Niki Haley, the convention featured more people of color than the traditional Republican convention.  Trump has found support among those demographics because he has not ignored them.  For years, Republicans ignored African-American voters because they didn’t vote for Republicans and African-American voters didn’t vote for Republicans because they ignored them, creating a self fulfilling prophecy.  The minority speakers made a case based on what Trump has done for their communities in his first term.

     Third, the thin line between government and campaigning has vanished, if it ever existed.  Both the president and the first lady spoke from the White House.  Critics claim Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech from Jerusalem, while on official business, was a violation of the Hatch Act, a law prohibiting federal employees from engaging in political activities.  The president and vice president are exempt from the Hatch Act, however the President did perform two official duties during the convention.  He signed a Presidential Pardon for Jon Ponder and spoke to five naturalized citizens after they were sworn in.  That thin line between governing and campaigning vanished.  Other incumbent presidents have used the office as a campaign backdrop, but never to this extent.  The genie is out of the bottle and expect future presidents to do the same.

     President Trump’s Thursday evening acceptance speech outlined his plan for the next four years.  It was substantive, but the POTUS wasn’t as fired up as normal.  The speech was too long(70 minutes).  The reported viewership was slightly less than Joe Bidens’, but he did not get a bump in the polls after his speech.  Expect Trump to get a substantial bump.  Last week’s GOP convention had an average everyday  American appeal- unlike the Democratic convention, which pandered to the radicals. 

Sunday, August 23, 2020


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


By Steve Fair

     Last week, the Democrats held their nominating convention.  Because of COVID-19, it was held by virtual means.  The theme was, “Uniting America.”  257 speakers addressed the convention.  Former Vice President Joe Biden, the nominee, accepted the nomination on Thursday evening.  "Here and now I give you my word. If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It is time for us, for we, the people, to come together," Biden said, just before he formally accepted the nomination.  On Sunday, The New York Post reported the line was lifted from the final letter written by a dying Canadian politician, Jack Layton. 

     Biden has been accused of plagiarism multiple times.  In 1988, his presidential campaign was derailed after it was revealed he had used the same lines as Neil Kinnock, leader of the British Labour Party in a speech.  His campaign never recovered and he dropped out of the race. 

     Three observations about the Democratic convention:

     First, the real theme appeared to be More Taxes.  Every speaker hit on how much more revenue government was going to need to pay for health care and job training and a dozen other social programs for all Americans.  No speaker talked about personal responsibility or reducing the footprint of government.  They all said the rich should be taxed more to redistribute the wealth to the non-rich.  Former Mayor Bloomberg, a billionaire, said Biden would increase his taxes and that was fine with him. 

     Second, the convention was long on philosophy and short on policy.  Political nominating conventions are staged to fire up the base and to put on a good show for the general public.  They are short on specifics and long on emotion.  They tend to attack the other Parties’ nominee and paint their nominee as a candidate for sainthood.  Viewership of the Democratic convention started out lower than 2016, but recovered on Thursday evening.  Nearly 25 million tuned in to view Biden’s speech Thursday.  He delivered what many said was the best speech of his life.  But like the convention, it was more philosophical than substantive.

     Third, the Democrats are trying to appeal to people of faith.  For the past several years, people of faith have voted overwhelmingly for Republicans over Democrats.  According to Pew Research, 75% of voters who describe themselves as evangelical or born again Christians (a group that includes Protestants, Catholics and members of other faiths) voted for Republicans in the 2018 mid-terms.  Apparently, Biden is not conceding the large block of evangelical voters, like his predecessors.  His Thursday evening speech had a definitive spiritual overtone.  He described President Trump’s vision for America as darkness, his as light.  Biden is right.  The answer to America’s problems is light, but it is not his light or Trumps.  It is the light of Jesus Christ. 

     This week is the GOP convention.  There will be about 70 speakers, far less than the Democrats.  President Trump is expected to participate every night. The convention theme will be “Honoring the Great American Story.”  It will have its fair share of hoopla and hype, but hopefully President Trump will present his vision for America if elected to a second term.  With voters stuck at home, the opportunity to provide specifics on policy shouldn’t be wasted.

Saturday, August 15, 2020


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

      The 2020 presidential debates have been set.  The Commission on Presidential Debates(CPD), a nonprofit established in 1987, sponsors the debates.  There are three presidential debates scheduled.  The first is scheduled for Tuesday September 29th in Cleveland, OH.  The second for Thursday October 15th in Miami, FL and the third, just a week later(October 22nd) at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.   There will be one vice presidential debate.  It will be held on Wednesday October 7th in Salt Lake City, UT.  With President Trump trailing in recent polls and the pandemic limiting traditional campaigning, the debates would appear to take on more importance.  Some are saying Biden will be a no-show for the debates, but that is not likely.  Three observations:

     First, Vice President Biden is not a strong debater.  During the Democrat primary debates, he would attempt to cram an hour of facts into a five minute response.  He often lost his train of thought and would stop mid-sentence when told his time was up.  Biden has never been a good debater.  He doesn’t think on his feet well.  During the Democratic primary debates, he didn’t present himself well, which contributed to his not securing the nomination as quickly as he had hoped.  It’s fair to say, debating is not his strong suit.  During the Democrat primary debates, Biden often looked uncomfortable and disengaged and that was with a stage of seven people.

     Second, President Trump is a fair debater- much better at it than Biden.  The POTUS’ greatest strength is he can think on his feet.  Whether you agree with him or not, he does handle himself well on a stage.  His style is far from traditional, but it works for him.  He doesn’t get rattled when attacked and responds to attacks well.  On stage in the crowed 2016 GOP debates, Trump was not intimidated and looked comfortable.    When attacked, he didn’t back down.  He needs to be more ‘traditional’ in 2020 and present his plan for a second term.  He can claim some very impressive accomplishments in his first term.  He should highlight those. 

     Third, the 2020 debates are very important.  With a pandemic in place, more voters will view the debates than in the past.   Convincing undecided voters is the whole goal for the candidates.  Trump has the communication skills.  Biden struggles on a debate stage.   Conventional campaigning is not to be in 2020.  Social media and mass media will play a more important role in this year’s election. 

     So-called experts claim all Vice President Biden has to do to stay ahead is to present himself in an ‘adequate’ way.  He doesn’t have to knock it out of the park.  He can just get a bunt single.  Talk about a low standard.  Those same experts claim President Trump has to hit a grand slam in all three debates to win in November.  The truth is somewhere in the middle, but based on past debate performances of the two, the best bet is on President Trump to perform well.  He will be entertaining, but unlike it was in 2016 when he didn’t have a track record, he can point to some significant accomplishments in his first term.  If he reminds voters of those accomplishments in his first term, that should get him re-elected.   

Sunday, August 9, 2020


Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     John MacArthur Jr. is pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA.  He is a well-known author and has a daily radio program, Grace to You, heard by millions throughout the country.  MacArthur, 81, has pastored the church since 1969.   Gavin Newsom has been governor of California since January 2019.  Newsom,52,  previously served 8 years as the state’s Lt. Governor and before that was mayor of San Francisco.   During his tenure as mayor, he directed the city clerk to issue same sex marriage licenses, which triggered the nationwide movement to legalize same sex marriage. 

     In May, Newsom issued an order banning in-church services in California to blunt the spread of the corona virus.  A large Pentecostal church sued the state seeking a restraining order, but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a split 2 to 1 decision denying the request.  Ironically, the decision was issued the same day President Trump said governors should allow church, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship to reopen immediately. 

     After initially ceasing services for 20 weeks, Grace Community chose to resume live serves on July 27th.  The City of Los Angeles sent them a cease and desist letter, threatening them with fines and arrest if they continued to meet.    In a statement the elders of Grace said: “It has never been the prerogative of civil government to order, modify, forbid, or mandate worship.  When, how, and how often the church worships is not subject to Caesar.  Caesar himself is subject to God.”  On Sunday to thunderous applause, MacArthur opened the service by stating, “Welcome to the peaceful protest assembly at Grace Community.”  He was not arrested.  Three observations:

     First, government has clearly used COVID-19 to overreach their authority.  Even if their motive is to protect citizens, they do not have the authority to close businesses and churches.  In a free society, there is always risk and it is not government’s job to protect ourselves from ourselves.  It is to punish evil doers and reward those that do good.    

     Second, lack of involvement by believers has created this situation.  In the past, MacArthur and other prominent pastors, have been vocally critical of those who neglect the gospel for politics. “The kingdom of darkness is going to do what the kingdom of darkness does. A preacher or pastor should be known for preaching the gospel, not being engaged in politics,” MacArthur once said.  He advocates voting, but says those who spend more time on politics than the spread of the gospel are neglecting the gospel.  Clearly the gospel is eternal and politics temporal, but if more believers had taken equity in their government, we wouldn’t have elected officials banning church services.  Out of control government has been created by causal political involvement by believers who were encouraged to ‘stay out of politics’ by their pastor.

     Third, government can’t control a sovereign God.  No matter how many in-person worship services they ban, the church will prevail.  The gates of hell will not prevail against it.  The church has endured much worse persecution than banning in-person services and requiring masks.  In the end, God will prevail. 

     MacArthur and Grace have retained Jenna Ellis, President Trump’s lawyer, to fight the ban.  In the meantime, pastors should exclusively preach the gospel from their pulpits.  It’s the only hope for America.  But MacArthur and other pastors should encourage their congregates to pay more attention to politics and get involved.  If church leadership had done that in the past, liberals like Newsom might not be in power. 

Sunday, August 2, 2020


Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

     COVID-19 dominates the news and our lives.    In the U.S., over 4.6 million people have tested positive for the virus and 155,000 have died.  Worldwide 700,000 have died and 18 million have been infected. From 1917-1920, the Spanish Flu pandemic resulted in 50 million dead, with 675,000 deaths occurring in the U.S.  The Spanish Flu infected a full one-third of the world’s population.  COVID-19’s rate of infection, by comparison  is less than .06% of the world’s population.  That is not to minimize the danger of COVID-19, but to point out the U.S.- and the world- have faced an invisible killer in the past.
     The Spanish Flu was first reported March 4, 1918, when an Army private at Ft. Riley, KS complained of sore throat, fever and headache.  Within hours, over 100 of his fellow soldiers had similar symptoms.  With WWI in full swing, troops traveling to Europe spread the virus.  There were four ‘waves’ of the Spanish Flu, with the second wave resulting in the most deaths.  In 1918, more U.S. soldiers died from the flu than those killed in combat.  Unlike COVID-19, in which the death rate is highest in the 65 and older demographic, the Spanish Flu’s highest death rate was among healthy young adults aged 15 to 34 years of age.  Because of that, the life expectancy rate in the United States was lowered by more than 12 years.  Nearly 2% of those who contracted Spanish Flu died.  With COVID-19, the death rate is much lower.  Much of that is due to advances in medicine in the past century. 
    During the Spanish Flu pandemic, restrictions on public gatherings affected businesses and churches.  Churches were closed across the country, with pastors encouraging their congregants to pray and study the scripture in lieu of gathering on the Lord’s Day.  Businesses were closed.  Masks were required to help stop the spread.  Like today, some didn’t like those restrictions and history records a Baptist pastor and a Catholic priest were arrested for violating the ban on large gatherings.  The issue then, as it is now, was the highly contagious nature of the virus.  Three observations:
     First, a second wave of COVID-19 is likely coming.  If history of viruses is any indicator, the second wave could be more deadly than the first.  It’s a mistake to not take COVID-19 seriously.  
     Second, hopefully the U.S. will survive.  It won’t be the virus that kills America.  It will be apathy and a lack of commitment to our self-governing form of government. 
     Third, God hasn’t lost control.  This event was decreed by God before the foundation of the world.   COVID-19 did not take God by surprise.  Our ways and not His ways and understanding the purpose for a deadly virus can challenge us, especially when it disrupts and impacts our lives.  But that is what faith is about.  Trust God.  As Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” 
     Those living in the time of the Spanish Flu did not have Zoom or Livestream options to stay in contact with their businesses, friends and family.  COVID-19  is disruptive, and inconvenient, but if we learn anything from history, it is that in 1920, Americans made a sacrifice to defeat an invisible enemy. 
      In spite of what is often said, history does not repeat itself.  History is linear, not cyclical.  As Mark Twain said, “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme,” meaning there are eerie similarities throughout history.  Americans could learn some important lessons from our forefathers who survived the Spanish Flu.  Stay safe.