We Are NOT a Democracy

Most Americans would say that we live in a democracy, but they would be wrong. In fact,neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution uses the word democracy. Why? Our Founding Fathers established a republic. They took a dim view of the idea of  democracy because of the dangers it would pose. So what is the difference between a democracy and a republic? And why does it matter?

A pure or direct democracy is rule by the majority. Whatever the greater part of the populace decides is the final verdict. That it is why it is sometimes called “the tyranny of the majority.” In a democracy, personal freedom is subject to the arbitrary whims of human nature.  Thomas Jefferson said, “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” Our Forefathers knew the end result of democracy. John Adams said it this way:  “Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable [abominable] cruelty of one or a very few.” Moses Ames, a Framer from Massachusetts, said a democracy is “a government not by laws, but by men.”

By contrast, John Adams said, “We are a nation of laws, not of men.”  We are a constitutional republic, a government in which people elect their fellow citizens to be their representatives in that government, and it is designed to protect the liberty of the minority as well as the individual. The government’s power is strictly limited to what is specifically outlined in a written Constitution. This Constitution is established by the people it governs, and it is only changed by Amendment. To ratify an amendment, it takes a two-thirds vote from both houses of Congress or three-fourths of the state legislatures.

The republic is protected by the separation of powers. As Alexander Hamilton put it, “Give all the power to the many, they will oppress the few. Give all the power to a few, they will oppress the many. Both, therefore, ought to have the power that each may defend itself against the other.” The separation of powers keeps one branch of government from becoming more powerful than another. The Constitution provided that the power of the government be divided between three separate but equal branches: The Executive Branch (President) is indirectly elected by the people. The Judiciary Branch is an avenue of appeal and is appointed by the President upon the consent of the Senate. The Legislative Branch consists of the two Houses of Congress (the House of Representatives and the Senate). The House is the only body that was intended to be directly elected by the people. Today, the Senate is also directly elected by the people via the 19th amendment, ratified in 1913, but the Founders originally intended for Senators to be chosen by individual state legislatures

The Founders who gave us the Constitution and the Republic it protects gave us the freest nation on earth, but there is a limit. John Adams said “Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”

If we are to remain a nation of laws rather than men, we must be a people who recognize the authority of those laws, abide them, and elect those who use the power entrusted to them to protect and defend the liberty of their fellow citizens, not to enrich themselves or abuse others. It is the only way to preserve the Republic and the freedom it affords us.

Sources Consulted:

A Basic History of the United States: Volume Two: The Beginning of the Republic; by Clarence B. Carson, 1984

The Politically Incorrect Guide to The Founding Fathers; by Brion McClanahan, 2009.

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He’s been everywhere: Why Vin Scully is baseball’s Forrest Gump By Jason Foster

For everything he’s seen, for everywhere he’s been and for everyone he’s met, Vin Scully is, without question, baseball’s version of Forrest Gump.

A self-described ordinary man who’s seen and done extraordinary things and often finds himself at an intersection with history. That’s Vincent Edward Scully.

Think of a big moment in baseball history since 1950 and chances are good that he was there. Now think of another. And another. The checklist is mind-boggling.

Scully, 87, announced Friday he plans to return in 2016 for his 67th and likely final season with the Dodgers, but never mind what the future may hold. His career has already had such longevity, such omnipresence, that the things he’s witnessed might comprise a time-traveler’s baseball bucket list.

He’s seen the beginning and end of Hall of Fame careers from Aaron and Mays to Biggio and Smoltz. He’s worked through 12 presidents and the addition of two U.S. states. When he first broke in, Connie Mack was still active as a manager. Let that sink in: Connie. Mack.

If Scully’s yarn of a career was a movie, like “Forrest Gump,” it would require suspension of disbelief.

Yet, Scully answers questions about his fantastical baseball journey with matter-of-fact Gumption.

“I just happened to be there,” Scully told reporters during a news conference Saturday. “It’s not something that I can take any pride in. … I’m really overwhelmed by the fact that I‘ve been so fortunate. God has blessed me beyond an imagination.”

Indeed, it would take a big imagination to drum up some of the details.

Consider: Like Gump, Scully has not only made it big in the sports world but also has hobnobbed with presidents (including the time he went 3 for 4 against a future president), chatted with rock stars, acted as brand pitchman and done other outlandish things, such as race Jackie Robinson on ice skates. He also narrated a sitcom and had his own talk show.

But all that’s just dramatic filler — it’s Scully’s witness to on-field history that’s most impressive.

There’s just so much of it, more than you probably realize.

There are the all-time great moments, such as …

Oct. 8, 1956: Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game

Working for NBC, Scully was paired with another announcing legend, Mel Allen, for Don Larsen’s perfecto in the 1956 World Series. Allen called the first half, so Scully got the second half — and the final out.

Sept. 9, 1965: Sandy Koufax’s perfect game

Sandy Koufax became the first pitcher to toss four career no-hitters, and with his fourth and final he reached the pinnacle with a perfect game. Scully famously called the game with great detail on radio, relaying the time to listeners as Koufax approached history.

April 8, 1974: Hank Aaron’s 715th home run

The Dodgers were the Braves’ opponent for The Hammer’s record-breaker, so Scully was there to describe the shot in his typical enthusiastic yet understated way. When the ball landed, Scully stayed silent and let the crowd tell the story.

Oct. 25, 1986: ‘Game 6’

“Can you believe this ballgame at Shea?” Scully asked, just seconds before Mookie Wilson hits the infamous grounder up the first base line and through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, scoring Ray Knight from second base. After proclaiming “The Mets win it!”, Scully remained silent for nearly 3 ½ minutes as the crowd roared.

Oct. 15, 1988: Kirk Gibson becomes Roy Hobbs

Scully had an up-close seat for the Dodgers’ entire 1988, so we understand why he sounded genuinely excited as Kirk Gibson’s improbable, one-handed walkoff homer sailed out of Dodger Stadium and shocked the heavily-favored A’s.

… and some that are just cool, such as …

July 6, 1983: Fred Lynn’s All-Star Game grand slam

The 1983 All-Star Game was, at the time, a rare win for the American League. The standout moment of the AL’s 13-run outburst was undoubtedly Fred Lynn’s grand slam off the Giants’ Atlee Hammaker, the first  — and still only — slam in All-Star history, as Scully pointed out with his call.

Oct. 14, 1984: Tigers win the World Series

By 1984, Scully had called so enough World Series moments that he apparently didn’t feel the need to contribute anything when the Tigers clinched in Game 5 against the Padres, telling the NBC audience to enjoy the crowd noise “until your heart’s content.” Here’s Scully’s no-call as the Tigers claimed the title:

Oct. 14, 1985: Ozzie Smith’s NLCS walkoff homer

The Wizard came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied at 2 and having never hit a homer left-handed. He connected on Tom Niedenfuer’s fourth pitch for a homer off the façade of the lower deck at Busch Stadium. Jack Buck’s famous “Go crazy, folks!” call is by far the best known, but Scully was there, too, calling the game for NBC.

Oct. 5, 2001: Barry Bonds sets single-season home run record

Less than a month after 9/11, Barry Bonds broke Mark McGwire’s single-season home run record — one that stood for all of three years — with his 71st homer off the Dodgers’ Chan Ho Park. Scully narrated the shot with his usual professionalism, telling the audience — on both radio and TV — exactly what it needed to know. Nothing more, nothing less.

… And then there are the calls you didn’t know existed. More on that in a bit.

An ongoing appeal

Part of Scully’s allure with fans is that association with history and nostalgia, which, as he points out, is mostly a product of circumstance: His decades with the storied Dodgers coincided for many years with prominent networks gigs that put him in a position to witness a lot of big games and big moments.

It’s a confluence we’re unlikely to see again.

“There’s just so much turnover these days with broadcasters. You rarely see one announcer stick with one team for his whole career,” said Joe Lucia, associate editor at Awful Announcing, which studies sports media.

Further, Lucia said, “You don’t really see those type of legendary announcers get tabbed for these national games anymore. … Everyone is identifiable with their own team and that’s it.”

Part of Scully’s ongoing appeal also stems from how baseball consumption works in the 21st century, Lucia said.

“Anyone can just pull up a Dodger home game at any time and listen to a guy who called games for Jackie Robinson, for Duke Snyder and Willie Mays and all these legends of the game,” he said. “We can’t pull up a live Jack Buck or Harry Caray telecast. There’s just not anything like that anymore.”

Though he may have lost some spunk in his older years, Scully has remained largely the same announcer for six decades. And the appeal of his simple approach to calling a game is as strong with younger fans as older ones — perhaps, Lucia said, a sign that parents have passed down the Joy of Scully to their children, who then passed it down to their children.

“He doesn’t have a color guy in the booth with him. He doesn’t really rely on graphics or shtick or statistics or anything like that. He tells stories about these players,” Lucia said. “And that’s not something you really see at all with broadcasters anymore. And when he retires, that’s not something we’re really ever going to get again.”

‘There’ll never be another Vin Scully’

Even those who work with Scully are in awe of what he’s seen.

“It’s fun when we have a chance to sit down and chat,” said Glenn Diamond, who grew up in Los Angeles listening to Scully on the radio and now is his producer at SportsNet LA. “There are certain things throughout my childhood that I remember. I’ve asked him about some of those iconic moments, and he’s given me a lot of the insight.”

Diamond has picked Scully’s brain about calling Don Drysdale’s 58-inning scoreless streak in 1968, about the particulars of long-gone stadiums such as Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and Crosley Field in Cincinnati, about other moments he remembers hearing on his transistor radio as a child.

The best tale Diamond has heard from Scully is his recollection of the Dodgers’ clubhouse after they lost to the Giants on Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in 1951. (Yes, Scully was there for that, too. Because of course he was.)

The locker rooms at the Polo Grounds were in center field and close together, so the Dodgers could hear the Giants’ euphoric celebration as their clubhouse remained in depressed silence. As one might imagine, Scully paints a vivid picture.

“Everybody has seen the home run a million times, but to hear Vin tell the story about having to be with a very sad clubhouse … was very different,” Diamond said.

More than six decades removed from such moments, Scully, amazingly, recalls them with clarity.

“He’s very retrospective. The man is a storyteller,” Diamond said. “That’s who he is and what he is. … There’ll never be another Vin Scully. ”

The calls you’ve probably never heard

Even if we take away all the top-tier baseball history Scully’s called, he’s still got quite the resume of epic moments. Because, like our friend Mr. Gump, Scully has had a good seat for a lot more history than most people realize.

For example, Scully was there …

Oct. 27, 1991: Smoltz vs. Morris in Game 7

As Jack Morris and John Smoltz locked horns in dueling shutouts, Scully’s soothing voice told the story on CBS national radio amid the tension of 10 incredible innings that ended with Gene Larkin’s pinch-hit single and the Twins pulling out a 1-0 series-clinching win.

Oct. 23, 1993: Joe Carter’s World Series walkoff homer

 As Joe Carter took the Phillies’ Mitch Williams deep for the first World Series-clinching walkoff homer in 33 years, Scully’s dulcet tones glistened across the radio waves as the ball cleared the left-field wall.

Oct. 28, 1995: Braves finally win the World Series

On their third World Series trip in four seasons, the Braves finally come out on top, defeating the Indians 1-0. Scully called the action for CBS Radio, painting word pictures of Tom Glavine’s one-hit gem and Atlanta’s only major sports championship.

Oct. 26, 1997: Marlins walk off with World Series championship

The Indians and Marlins gave us one of the most underrated World Series in recent memory, capping it off with the Marlins’ walkoff win in an 11-inning, back-and-forth Game 7 thriller. Scully called the action yet again for CBS radio, to date his final national World Series broadcast.

And if all those baseball moments weren’t enough, Scully also called one of the more iconic plays in NFL history: Joe Montana to Dwight Clark in the 1982 NFC Championship Game — otherwise known as “The Catch.”

Just like Forrest Gump, Scully speaks with humility and matter-of-factness when discussing his life.

“I’m just me. When it all boils down, as I tell you from the heart, I am the most ordinary man you’ve never met,” Scully told reporters Saturday. “I was given an extraordinary opportunity and God has blessed me for doing it all these years. … I’m just a guy who’s a sports announcer.”

There are other sports announcers, and there will be other Dodgers announcers. But only one has set an unreachable bar for his successors. And there’s more to come.

“I’m trying very hard for one more year. And God willing, it’ll come about,” Scully said Saturday, before citing the Dylan Thomas poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.”

Do not go gentle into that good night. … Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

“For at least the God-given time I have left,” Scully said, “I’ll be raging.”

And we’ll be listening, as a career worthy of a Hollywood tale brings us its final act.

 Posted: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2015-08-31/vin-scully-dodgers-career-forrest-gump-baseball-history-mlb-broadcaster-calls-hank-aaron-world-series

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Review of A Harvest of Hope

A Harvest of Hope
In Lauraine Snelling’s A Harvest of Hope, Miriam Hastings must go to Chicago to tend to her dying mother. When she returns to the small town of Blessing, she is determined to focus on her work at the hospital, but she is torn between the small town life she has grown to love and her family in Chicago. Which will she choose? And will she find love along the way?

A Harvest of Hope was a delightful surprise to me. The novel takes place in the early 1900’s. I love the small-town feel, the unhurried pace, and the hints of Scandinavian culture throughout the narrative. I also found the medical aspect of the novel fascinating. The characters are authentic, warm, and empathetic, and they display resiliency in the midst of whatever comes their way. The plot relies heavily on relationships and moves at a leisurely pace, but not without conflict or challenge. The Christian themes dominate and slow the prose at times, but the book is far from dull. It is an easy, entertaining read, and perfect for a gloomy day. I’m happy to say I enjoyed A Harvest of Hope, and I recommend it for those seeking an escape from their fast-paced life.

I was given a free copy by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Review of One Thousand Wells

one thousand wells

 

In her book, One Thousand Wells: How an Audacious Goal Taught Me to Love the World Instead of Save It, Jena Nardella tells of her desire to make a difference by reaching the poorest of Africa, one water well at a time. Along with the band, Jars of Clay, Nardella founded the organization, Blood:Water, which seeks to provide African villages with clean water sources. This goal, which began when Jena was in college with limited income, is now a million-dollar charity. This outreach is just one example of how a dream to change the world can become a reality.

One Thousand Wells is a riveting account of the incredible highs and heart-breaking lows of one woman’s quest to meet a desperate need. Nardella’s compassion can be felt on every page. What began simply as an idealistic dream soon became a fight for hope in the face of rampant corruption and unspeakable loss. But, in spite of insurmountable odds, Jenna’s story is a shining source of inspiration and motivation for readers to be aware of the needs around them.

There is one aspect of One Thousand Wells that is concerning. Nardella’s worldview is somewhat liberal and her theology incomplete. Specifically, she speaks of Liberation Theology in an innocuous way. In reality, this belief system has negative and harmful implications which are unbiblical. All ideas, especially theological ones, have eternal consequences. Readers should be aware of this when considering this book.

However, One Thousand Wells is beautifully written by a young woman whose heart overflows with love for the less fortunate.

 

 

I was given a free copy by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

 

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Review of The Pilgrim

 

The Pilgrim

In Davis Bunn’s The Pilgrim, Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, sets out on a pilgrimage to Judea on what she believes is a mission from God. Abandoned by her husband and denying herself the royal entourage due her, Helena willingly places herself into ever-present danger in order to fulfill her quest. But will her holy pilgrimage cost her life?

The Pilgrim is a well-written and captivating story that will grab the reader’s attention from page one. Bunn knows how to weave a tale like few Christian authors. His attention to detail and ability to place a story in its setting highlight his gift for story-telling. His characters in The Pilgrim are warm, likable and empathetic, and the plot is action packed. I wasn’t ready for the story to end, which reminds me why Bunn continues to be one of my favorite authors.

However, there were a few things in The Pilgrim that gave me pause. Understandably, historical fiction allows authors to take a few liberties to embellish their stories, but I found some events surrounding the novel to be alarmingly inaccurate. In addition, there seemed to be an emphasis on mysticism which made me uncomfortable. With those concerns in mind, readers will still, no doubt, be intrigued and immersed into another one of Davis Bunn’s page-turning narratives.

I was given a free copy by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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The Glory Gap By Joni Eareckson Tada

Suns rays bursting through the clouds

 

Have you ever wondered how you might bring glory to God in your everyday routines? Routines that, well… can be stressful or difficult? Well, there is a way. Think about it: there’s a wide gap between what you would naturally and instinctively do (like complain or whine about the routines) and what you do by His grace (like biting your tongue from grumbling). And friend, that wide gap is the glory of God. That gap, that “difference” between complaining and choosing not to complain makes God look great! And our Savior takes note; He marks that gap down on our eternal account. And one day? Romans chapter 8 says it best. “Our present sufferings aren’t worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” So join me in tackling our routine jobs with an eye to that wide, wonderful gap of God’s glory.

 

Posted: August 15, 2015

 

 

http://www.joniandfriends.org/blog/glory-gap/

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What Kind of Reader Are You?

Posted:Writer’s Circle.com
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