The Press-Dispatch

August 5, 2020

The Press-Dispatch

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 24

B-10 Wednesday, August 5, 2020 The Press-Dispatch OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg Race for the Cure By Star Parker Lucid Moments By Bart Stinson Pandemic vs. protesters Decent Americans who are feel- ing perplexed today shouldn't be ashamed about it. There is good reason to be perplexed. On the one hand, in the name of health and safety, we are be- ing asked by government to com- promise personal freedoms that we have always taken for grant- ed: going to work, going to church, sending our children off to school, meeting our friends in our favorite restaurant. We walk around wearing annoy- ing masks and try to respect social distancing limits. But decent Americans are per- plexed because we would expect that allowing more government in- to our personal space would happen uniformly, that in allowing more government, we are all sacrificing together for some greater good, some greater necessity. But instead, we look around and see chaos. We see no uniformity. Protests, often violent, are sweep- ing our cities. The same public of- ficials who tell us to keep our kids at home; who tell us to not pray in church, as we have always prayed; who limit our places of work and livelihood look the other way, often with approval, as hooligans tear apart our cities. Greater demands from govern- ment should mean increasing re- spect for the law. But we're seeing the opposite: government making more demands while disrespect for the law increas- es across the nation. We just saw a decision in the na- tion's Supreme Court where a Ne- vada church petition to be treat- ed equally to Nevada's casinos re- garding COVID-19 attendance lim- its was rejected with no explanation. Justice Samuel Alito got to the heart of the matter in his dissenting opinion, saying: "For months now, States and their subdivisions, have responded to the pandemic by im- posing unprecedented restrictions on personal liberty, including free exercise of religion. ... Now four months have passed since the orig- inal declaration. The problem is no longer one of exigency, but one of considered yet discriminatory treat- ment of places of worship." "Calvary Chapel has also brought to our attention," continued Alito, "evidence that the Governor has fa- vored certain speakers over others. When large numbers of protestors openly violated provisions of the Directive, such as the rule against groups of more than 50 people, the Governor not only declined to en- force the directive but publicly sup- ported and participated in a pro- test." I am looking at a photograph of a mass of protestors marching, shoul- der to shoulder, through the streets of Oakland, California, this in the same state that is limiting church attendance to 25% capacity and pro- hibiting singing in church. In May, the Supreme Court reject- ed a challenge by South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California, to the state's restrictions on church attendance. Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted in his dissent that secular businesses like supermar- kets, restaurants and hair salons are not subject to the same restric- tions as houses of worship. A group of Orthodox Jewish Americans sued the New York gov- ernor and New York City mayor for lack of uniformity in gathering lim- its between houses of worship, and secular business activity, protests and demonstrations. Going hand in hand with the ri- oting and violence is a nationwide surge in crime. The Wall Street Journal reports increases in homicides in Milwau- kee, Chicago, New York, Los Ange- les, and Kansas City. At the same time, there is vio- lence and damage from protesters in Seattle, Portland and Louisville. We can't have a free and civil so- ciety without law. And law means nothing if we can't agree on what the law is and if it is not applied uni- formly. Politics needs to follow law. Today's chaos is symptomatic of law following politics. Well-intentioned citizens cannot Continued on page 11 Continued on page 11 Continued on page 11 Continued on page 11 Lessons from Ancient Rome The Roman republic was on the ropes in 458 BC. A slave rebellion had captured Capitoline Hill itself, and gangsters were calling the tune in the Temple of Jupiter. Foreign raiders brought trade and supply to a standstill, and negotiated with com- promised rich merchants to fund the invasion. A neighboring rival, Aequi, had broken its truce with Rome, and was running roughshod over Rome's demoralized army. Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus had already washed his hands of the po- litical hardball in Rome that had tak- en his son's life, and retired to fami- ly property west of the Tiber River. He was at the plow when a delegation from the Roman Senate came out to speak to him. "Is everything all right? " he asked the worried visitors. They request- ed he dress in his ceremonial Sen- ate toga, to receive an official com- munication from the supreme coun- cil of the Roman state. Cincinnatus sent his wife to their house to bring back his toga, then received the un- welcome news that the Senate had ap- pointed him Dictator of the crumbling republic. He moved quickly. Step one was universal conscription. On the morn- ing after he crossed the river back in- to Rome, he ordered all men of mili- tary age to assemble on the Field of Mars that very day. The draftees were ordered to pack five days' rations, al- though many felt they were march- ing to their death far sooner than five days. Roman soldiers customarily brought a vallum, a sharpened pole or stake used to fortify camps during campaigns in hostile territory. But Cincinnatus told his cavalry com- mander to order the men to bring 12 stakes apiece instead of one. There was grumbling, and despair. But they came. While other Roman generals dithered and procrastinat- ed, Cincinnatus marched hard, direct- ly at the Aequi invaders on Mount Al- gidus where they had cornered a des- perate Roman army. A fter his forces located the Aequi army and evening came, their work was just beginning. Cincinnatus besieged the besieg- ers. He ordered his men to drive in their 12 stakes overnight to constrict the enemy's movement and prevent their escape. The Aequi invaders would have to fight for their lives, or surrender. They tried to break out, but the drafted Romans repeatedly beat them back. With the surrendered Aequi at their mercy, the Romans plundered their belongings but there was no mass slaughter. As a condition of amnesty, Cincinnatus required that they exe- cute three of their worst instigators, and that they surrender their leaders to the Romans. These surely wished they had been fortunate enough to be be executed with the others. The vanquished Aequi invaders were required to march under a long row of crossed swords held by the tri- umphant Roman draftees, held low enough that the warlike Aequi men had to stoop in unmistakable submis- sion to the shopkeepers and laborers who had defeated them against all odds. There were triumphal parades through Rome, with captured Aequi leaders on display before their penal- ties were executed. And I like to think the Romans had something special for those rich merchants who were willing to help the invaders destroy their republic. Fifteen days after the unsmiling Senate delegation waved to Cincin- natus across his field, he disbanded his army, sent his men home to their families and resigned as Dictator. On the 16th day, he was back at his plow. It goes without saying that there are revisionist scholars who dispute some of the specifics of this story. Some deny it in its entirety. It's the nature of social science scholarship, especially history, that you need to make bold claims contradicting con- ventional beliefs. It's how you get job stability (academic tenure), how you avoid academic oblivion. I don't pretend to have any spe- cial expertise on ancient Rome, and so I offer no opinion on any of the re- visionism. All I can say is that it's a very hopeful story 2,478 years later. It suggests that even when the cause appears to be lost, purposeful citi- zens of a republic can mobilize under the right plan to reclaim their sover- eignty, repel their invaders and over- come the sloth of their allies to sub- due evil-doers. That's great encour- agement in 2020. This weekend has been a proud moment for our oldest grandson, An- drew Clark. His parents, Mary Rose and Luke, and brother Alex hosted an open house at the local Pride's Creek Golf Course club house to cel- ebrate a milestone in his life. He had recently graduated from Pike Cen- tral High School this school year and is headed to the University of South- ern Indiana to pursue higher educa- tion. We have been listening closely to his dreams, and just like every par- ent and family, we wonder what jour- ney of life he plans to pursue. For the past few years, he commented about going to faraway places after com- pleting a degree, and hopefully do something in the field of sports on the business side of it. Or something or anything to do with business ven- tures. I think since he has traveled a fair amount to Asia and across the bor- der to Canada, this has opened his mind to the idea that there is indeed a bigger world out there. He does not seem to feel any hesitation that he can finish a degree in business and then search for what's out there in the international arena. That is truly admirable, given the changes in the international scene due to the world pandemic. Hopefully soon, we will have a vac- cine to eradicate this plague and then the fear of travel and engaging in close contacts the way we used to do will be the norm again. With Rose and I having raised four kids and providing them the educa- tion they wanted to pursue, we know that the kids' dream of a life they want to follow, and they do some- times make some changes in their educational pursuit. We just have to respect and encourage their dis- coveries, and help pay for the cost. Sound familiar? We have done it four times with our four kids. We don't know how we survived it, since at one time there were four in college at the same time. I think it was hard, disciplined work with lots of prayers. So now we can proudly say they have something they earned that could never be taken away from them. This we hope will be what An- drew's parents can emulate, for both of them work hard to pro- vide for Andrew's dreams. So to our proud first grand- child, good luck, God bless, and don't get derailed in your pursuit. • • • I came across some inter- esting statistics. Study after study has shown that in order for human beings to make a decent or good living, some form of solid education or training has to be undertaken. Yes, some peo- ple do get lucky, not to have engaged in higher pursuits of learning, and made a good to very good living, but they are not the norm. Education can be a short-term form of learning or a very long-term form of disciplined journey. It can be in the technical field or in the more complex world of scholarly pursuits. Interestingly, it takes an average of 14 or more years to get a human being to be able to comfortably read, write, solve simple to complex prob- lems and, of course, the vehicle is ed- ucation. My Point of View By Dr. H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. Pomp and circumstance Points to Ponder By Rev. Ford Bond The Cross, The Cross, The Cross The Cross is the most recognized non-commercial symbol in the world, maybe even more than McDonalds or Coca-Cola! Nature reminds us of the cross, and it is evident that no cross in na- ture appears perfect [there is a ser- mon]. Except for the tundra and desert regions of the world, one cannot es- cape the cross in nature. It is entan- gled in the trees and bushes. It is ev- erywhere. One would have to destroy the veg- etation of the world to rid its pres- ence, and power companies would need to find new ways to hang their wires. Why is the Cross important? It is the symbol of the life given through the death of Jesus Christ. To those outside of Christianity, the Cross is an enigma, a mystery, offensive, and/or foolishness. Long ago Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, wrote "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish fool- ishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. Of interest is the early church did not view the Cross as an identifying symbol, and it is sel- dom found among period artifacts, ex- cept disguised as an anchor, a trident, or the mast of a ship. The first sym- bols used by Chris- tians were the fish, anchor, ship, lamb, and shepherd. It was during the 2nd century AD that Christians began making the sign of the cross; by the middle of the 3rd century AD the cross was becoming part of Christian iconography—and a major symbol of the church. How entrenched did the cross-be- come as a symbol of the faith? The 16th century Puritans in their at- tempt to rid the Church of England of Catholic trappings the question rose, "should the cross be removed from the churches? " The conclusion was the Cross was/is such an intricate part of the gospel and story of Christ that it cannot be removed without rendering the mes- sage of salvation empty. Today – the cross remains linked with the Christian faith and all the faith traditions use it as a symbol of the church. There are more hymns and songs about the cross than can be listed, much less re- membered. If the cross is part of the theolo- gy of the Church, then why bother to mention it? Because it remains an offense, and sadly some Christians find it repulsive. Modernism has a difficult time dealing with the bloody death of its savior-which is exactly what the cross accomplished and the disciples stressed! Modernism has deemphasized the cross and cast Jesus more as a sage, a social reformer, or a revolutionary Heritage Viewpoint By Hans von Spakovsky Vulnerabilities of absentee ballots No question about it: some peo- ple need absentee ballots—those with disabilities, those living abroad and others who can't make it to the polls on Election Day. But pushing for more absentee bal- loting—even all-mail elections— is unwise. It would make election fraud far easier. In-person voting occurs under the supervision of election offi- cials, with election observers there to make sure everything is on the up-and-up. This transparency is a vital hallmark of the democratic process. Mail-in ballots, however, are susceptible to being stolen, al- tered, forged and forced. All states ban electioneering in polling places, but there are no such bans on electioneering in vot- ers' homes. This leaves at-home voters vulnerable to intimidation and coercion by campaign staffers, political party activists, and others with a vested interest in the elector- al outcome. Four elections in California, Florida, Indiana, and North Caro- lina—stolen through absentee-bal- lot fraud—demon- strate some of the problems. In 1991, school board elections in Fresno, California, were overturned due to "widespread illegal voting prac- tices that permeat- ed this election— including fraud and tampering" with absentee ballots. A local polit- ical organization took over the vot- er registration and absentee ballot- ing process, completely controlling the application, delivery, comple- tion and return of the absentee bal- lots of minority voters. Some were pressured to vote for specific can- didates. Others had their ballots filled out without their consent or consultation. Six years later, a court over- turned a Miami mayoral election because of massive fraud involving 5,000 absentee ballots. A city com- missioner and his chief of staff were among the 55 de- fendants convicted of fraud. Some voters were bribed for their absentee ballots. Some somehow managed to sub- mit absentee ballots from the grave, as did others who weren't even Miami resi- dents. And many poor and elderly voters were coerced or had their ballots stolen and voted for them—effec- tively disenfranchising them. In 2004, the Indiana Supreme Court threw out the results of a 2003 mayoral primary in East Chi- cago because the incumbent mayor and his cronies "perverted the ab- sentee voting process and compro- mised the integrity and results of that election." Just as in Fresno and Miami, the fraudsters in East Chi- cago targeted "first-time voters" and others "less informed or lack-

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Press-Dispatch - August 5, 2020