Designated Survivor

My wife and I watched this show when it premiered in 2016. It was a very interesting political thriller involving a major attack on the government of the United States that thrust Kiefer Sutherland’s character (playing the Secretary of HUD) into the oval office as President after everybody in front of him in the line of succession was killed by a bomb. It was a good show, with spies, secret plots, machinations, drama, and moments of levity sprinkled in. The characters were engaging and you couldn’t help but root for the President’s success. The show ran for two seasons on ABC and then it was canceled.

Fast forward to this month. We haven’t had Netflix for several months, but signed up for a free trial that was available, and I noticed that Netflix had picked up the show and just released a third season of ten episodes. My wife and I started to watch the first episode last night.

I say “started to watch” because it was horrible. It’s like Netflix took a gourmet meal and poured vomit all over it. We couldn’t even finish the episode. They decided that the show needed more cursing (we hit three F-bombs and quit watching). As I did more research, I found out that now they’ve decided to make main characters gay (because we all know every single show now has to have gay characters, even though gay people are 2-3% of the population). There’s prostitution, sex, profanity, transgender characters, disgustingly crude references in conversation that I won’t repeat here, and they’ve turned the President, who in the first two seasons was a kind of “every-man”, into a white male version of the liberal savior who cares about all the liberal issues and none of the conservative ones. According to the reviews I’ve read online he spends the whole ten episodes fighting against the Republicans and the Democrats are strangely absent.

It’s sad that Netflix (and the rest of Hollywood) feels like this is the kind of garbage that we should be “entertaining” ourselves with, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. As I peruse the rest of what is available on Netflix right now, the only thing of value are the good shows I’ve already seen, and the Disney content. So no, we will not be paying Netflix a dime and will be canceling this subscription.

The older I get, the more I notice the world moving further and further away from what is decent and right and good. It’s like they are daring each other to be as shocking and ungodly as they can possibly be. It only makes me long for the return of Christ. Even so….

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Minnesota’s 5th District

I keep seeing this thing on Facebook and other sites claiming that the only reason Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is in congress is that President Obama sent 70,000 Somali refugees to the 5th Congressional district of Minnesota.  The people that post this nonsense are assuming a lot of things. For one, they’re assuming that 100% of these 70,000 people are of voting age and they ALL vote Democratic. 

First of all, the numbers are wrong.  Suffice it to say there are only 69,000 Somalis living in the entire state.  The 5th district itself only has 58,000 residents born in “Sub-saharan Africa.”  That certainly includes Somalia, but many other countries too. 

Then let’s get to the population of the district. The census bureau says that, as of 2017, there are 721,389 people in that district.  Only 343,358 of them voted.  Now that’s 48% of the total number of people.  I’m sure some of those people are not of voting age, but that’s still thousands of people not voting.

Even IF there were 70,000 Somalis living in MN-5, and IF they all were of age, and IF they all voted Democrat, there were still an additional 197,703 people in that district that voted Democrat. And the Republican challenger got 74,440 votes.

So now we get to the crux of the matter.  The problem with Minnesota’s 5th district is not that there are too many Somalis in it, it’s that there are too many DEMOCRATS in it. The last time that district sent a Republican to DC was 1960. Pick an election from that point on, and the Democrat candidate beat the Republican challenger by double digits every year. Seriously, I looked. Between 1863 and 1962 the Republicans won that seat in all but three elections. But for some reason the tide turned in 1962, and the DFL party won 52%-48% and they haven’t lost since. Most years the DFL candidate gets around 70% of the vote in that district.

Here’s a breakdown of the election results by percentage since then:

YEAR  D% vs R%

2018        77-21
2016        69-22
2014        70-24
2012        75-25
2010        68-24
2008        71-22
2006        56-21
2004        70-24
2002        67-26
2000        69-23
1998        67-28
1996        64-28
1994        62-37
1992        63-28
1990        73-27
1988        72-25
1986        73-26
1984        70-27
1982        66-29
1980        70-26
1978        62-38
1976        71-26
1974        74-25
1972        66-24
1970        57-42
1968        58-42
1966        60-40
1964        62-38
1962        52-48

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I Am Nobody

As a child my parents told me I had so much potential. Usually it was when school came easy for me so I just skated by easily, and they were upset I wasn’t operating up to my potential.  I remember one time my dad said “You could be anything you want to be.”  I took that to heart, and so I became nobody.

I didn’t set out to become nobody, but the choices I’ve made in my life (some good, some bad) have brought me to this point in my life. Some of it I’m sure is God’s providential hand, and some of it is the natural consequence of my own choices (which God takes into account). 

What do I mean when I say I’m nobody? I’m nobody special. I’m nobody important. I’m nobody that you would see me coming and turn around to get my autograph or take a picture to prove you met me. I’m not impressive or outstanding really. I will almost certainly die having accomplished nothing of note or consequence.  99.9% of the world will almost certainly not notice when I am no longer here. 

I have had two professions, really: nursing and pastoring. I have won no awards in either career.  I’m a good nurse, but not the best nurse ever.  I’d like to think I’m a good pastor, but that’s not for me to say.  I try my hardest, but I see other men my age (and younger) attaining to positions and offices that I never will.  I’m not sure if I will ever pastor a church larger than 100 people (not that there’s anything wrong with that). 

But I serve my God. I put one foot in front of the other every day and try to do what He asks. And whatever job He has for me, I do it willingly and gladly, even if men never see or think highly of me. And that doesn’t bother me really, because I’m not doing it for them.

Psalm 84:10 says:

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
            I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
            Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

That means it’s better to be a doorman for God than live outside of His will. it’s better to be a nobody for God than to be a somebody for the world. I am happy serving God wherever He sends me.

God does not require us to be spectacular. He just wants us to be faithful.

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There has been a lot of talk going around lately regarding reparations for slavery in the United States. I decided that since nobody asked, you obviously want to know what I think about it.

I am pro-reparations. I believe that if someone harms someone else or steals from them, they should pay a penalty. The Bible expresses the same principle over and over in the Law of Moses (Exodus 21:22, 28-36; 22:4-14; Leviticus 24:19-21). Now I’m not saying that the Law of Moses is in effect, but the principle of reparations for harm done is there. If I steal and eat my neighbor’s cow, I should have to replace the cow with a similar cow or other financial penalty. If I rob a bank, I should have to pay back what I have stolen. So the issue of reparations is a personal one.

But the problems with the current issue of reparations for slavery in the United States are legion. Should someone who wrongly enslaved another person pay them restitution for the years of their life that were taken from them? Absolutely. But there is not a single living American who has personally and legally owned slaves, and there is not a single living American who has personally and legally been enslaved by another American. The last American slave died in 1971.

There are people calling for reparations today. There is currently a bill being considered in Congress. I’m curious how they are going to handle this issue.

Just as an aside, the mantra of some politicians continues to be that “the government” will pay for this or that. Anytime you hear “The government will pay…” remember that the only source of income the government has is YOU and other Americans. So when someone says “the government will pay…” just substitute “YOU” for “the government”.

But are reparations even possible? I came up with a list of questions that need to be answered before any attempt at reparations can be made:

  1. What is the criteria that qualifies someone to receive reparations? Skin color alone? Not every black person was a slave.
  2. What about non-black slaves such as the Chinese? Do they get reparations? Because any reparations paid for one slave should be paid to all descendants.
  3. What about people who have immigrated to the United States and become citizens since 1863? Should they be required to pay restitution since they had nothing to do with slavery?
  4. What about black people living in the US that have no slave ancestors? Why should they get “reparations” if their family was not involved at all in slavery?
  5. How would a person prove that they are the descendant of a slave?
  6. What about black people who have white ancestry? Should their white side pay reparations to their black side, so it’s a wash?
  7. Who pays the reparations? Only white people? If a person is mostly genetically white but has black slave ancestors, what then?
  8. What about the black slave owners? Will their descendants have to pay reparations?
  9. How much should each person get? How do we determine what amount is sufficient? If we go off the average cost of a slave in 1860 was $800, which is $24,364 in today’s money, should that amount be split between all descendants or should each descendant get that much? Can the United States afford to pay this massive fee (looking at our debt and deficit, I already know the answer is no)?
  10. Is this a once for all reparation or an annual thing? Just like with the minimum wage discussion, when is enough enough?
  11. If all taxpayers pay into the fund, aren’t we asking the reparation recipients to partially pay for their own reparations?

These and many other questions are almost impossible to answer, and reveal the complete ludicrousness of attempting to penalize certain people for something their ancestors did 156-398 years ago. And that is why I am against this idea. People should be held responsible for their own transgressions, but not the transgressions of their ancestors, because where does it stop? Every ethnic group I’ve ever heard of has been oppressed in history by at least one other ethnic group. Where does it end?

Personally I believe this is an attempt by certain politicians to basically bribe their constituents into voting for them. “I got you that reparation money! Vote for me!” If you wanted to help black citizens of the United States better their lives, there are better ways to do it than simply giving them money.

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