Sunday, May 15, 2011

Geert Wilders in Nashville

When I told a friend about seeing Geert Wilders speak in Nashville the night before, she said she'd seen him on the news and thought, "I would like to hear what he has to say."

She expressed his charisma perfectly.

Geert Wilders cuts a unique and striking figure, tall, tanned and lean, serious though with a youthful face which is accentuated by bleached-blond hair swept back as if he's Hermes sprinting through the world.

In the Netherlands Wilders is the leader of the Party of Freedom, the third leading party in Parliament, and is considered a favorite to be the Netherlands' next prime minister. He is a vocal opponent of Islamist influences on traditional Dutch culture and of acceptance of Sharia law.

Thursday night at Cornerstone Church in Nashville Geert Wilders walked onstage with purpose and wasted no time in his speech delivery, hammering point after point, pausing only in deference to the applause of the thousands who showed up to hear him.

The police carried at least one protester out of the auditorium in the midst of the speech. He hollered something I couldn't make out and bing bada boom he was gone. It did not slow Wilders down.

Wilders is on trial in the Netherlands for "hate speech" involving his politically incorrect messages about Islam, but I never heard a word that sounded hateful in his speech. Rather, he was blunt. The truth, as he suggested, is hard to swallow. He noted that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also being sued in Germany for praising the recent demise of Osama Bin Laden. Free speech, apparently, is a uniquely American if endangered concept.

Wilders noted that thank God, there are many moderate Muslims, but the problem is that there is no such thing as moderate Islam. Mohammed was a violent, perverted figure. What he could not achieve through persuasion he forced by the sword. Wilders urged the audience not to shrink from judging Islam not as a religion but as an inferior, dangerous ideology. He urged Americans not to stand idly by while Islamists use our tolerant natures to impose their intolerant ideology. He stressed the importance of defending Israel and he challenged Islamist countries such as Saudi Arabia to allow religious freedom as in the west. The full text of his speech is available on Wilders' web site.

The evening included the showing of a video detailing Islamist activity in Nashville and warmup speeches by Bill Warner, a local professional, and Sam Solomon, a former Muslim and scholar. All were effective presentations.

But it was Geert Wilders who really shined as Hermes bringing an explicit, urgent warning to America.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Palin-hatin', Trump-hatin', Self-loathin' Crowd

That is a country song.

Or at least a country club song. Not that everyone who is a member of a country club is exactly the same. Some just do it because they can.

I'm fine with that!

But so many of this type have their entire self-worth calculated by their membership. Or if it's not the club, it's the car (Lexus, Beemers, Range Rovers, Mercedes...), the clothes, the jewelry, the vanity surgery, the private schools, the gated community...

Again, there are people who simply like some of these things and they've earned them.

I'm fine with that!

Earned them. That's the key word.

And by the way, not all of these people call themselves liberals.

I have something to add to that old saw that if a man's not a liberal at 20 he has no heart, and if not a conservative at 40 he has no brain.

I would add that if he has a big inheritance (or married money), he'll call himself a conservative but really be a liberal. That's how people like Lamar Alexander and Lindsey Graham get elected.

Many people have noted that the problem with the health care system in America is that the consumer has gradually been separated from the provider by a third party, the health insurance providers. Thus the dollar value of a visit to the doctor has become meaningless. Going to the doctor on copays has made it like going into the Chinese buffet and loading your plate up with crab legs and lobster.

The same has happened regarding life in general with a huge segment of my generation. Our parents did so well, and we have suffered so little for the blessings we have, that few of us really know the meaning of a dollar any more. Few of us have started businesses. Few of us have financed our houses out of our own pocket. Or our cars. Or tuition to private schools. Or our credit card debt.

It all came from mommy and daddy. Or at least all the over-the-top stuff did.

If these folks were left on their own in the real world, they would sink, not swim. And if you strip away all the pretense you will find that they loath themselves for their own incompetence and attack others to compensate.

The first sign of such people is that they hate Sarah Palin. The second sign is that they hate Donald Trump.

For between the two of them, Palin and Trump completely negate the inflated self-worth of the country club set. Palin, by starting with nothing and making something of herself. Trump, by starting with something and being willing to risk it all to make it bigger. And succeeding.

Palin's and Trump's achievements completely pop the status bubble of the country club set. Palin can laugh at their political correctness from her earned stature on the outside, and Trump can sit right among them on the inside, seeing right through them, making them all look small.

It's no wonder the country club set recoils and sneers when either name is mentioned.

Most of the folks of my generation in this "country club set" have not earned a bit of what they've got that makes them feel set apart from average Joe. And in fact they have nothing in common with the average Joe. But it's not that the Lexus or the club membership or the pedicures and massage therapy that makes them better than the average Joe. In fact, they are worse. They are what is know as white trash, be they white, black, Asian, natural blondes, or otherwise.

Rather, it's more likely the average Joe that goes to church and tithes to serve his Maker and help his neighbor. It's more likely the average Joe who doesn't just lament the fate of the poor victims of the tornadoes but actually gets down there and works a help center. It's more likely the average Joe who serves his country in the armed forces and is proud if his children do. It's more likely the average Joe who can be counted on at any time, under any conditions. It's more likely the average Joe who is willing to get his hands dirty creating a business out of his garage these days. It's the average Joe who may only earn $10 an hour, but by God he's earned what he's got.

It's the average Joe who looks at Barack Obama and recognizes him for the incompetent prig he is.

It's the average Joe who responds to Sarah Palin and Donald Trump with cheers.

It's the average Joe who will vote his conscience, not whatever is cool at the club.

And I'm fine with that!