Archive for June, 2009

From Eric Rauch at American Vision: The Power and Authority of Words

June 7, 2009

This article is a companion to the previous post.  As I state in the previous post, Joel McDurmon and Eric Rauch really hit the proverbial nail on the head in these two articles.  Can be found at:

http://www.americanvision.org/article/the-power-and-authority-of-words/

I urge my readers to think about the meaning of language, speech,and words; their power and authority.  Think about the words we say each day, for which we are held accountable to God – even the “idle” ones.  And think about the words that God says, how that none are “idle”, and all are significant.

The Power and Authority of Words

Article Image: 2009June04

by Eric Rauch

In the New Testament, the Greek word for “authority” is sometimes translated as “power.” Even though there is a separate Greek word for power, the concepts of power and authority are so intimately connected in the Western mind, that modern translators often view them as synonyms. But translations aside, there is a biblical distinction that should be made between authority and power.

We discussed previously the relationship between author and authority, where an author has “authority” because he is the originator, the creator. Authority, in the biblical sense, is usually referring to the legitimacy of the individual or individuals. For example, when Jesus finished his Sermon on the Mount, Matthew records that “the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29). In other words, the crowds recognized something different in the words of Jesus that was lacking in the words of their own teachers. The scribes had the “power” of the Scriptures, but lacked the ability—the legitimacy—to speak them with any authority. When Jesus, the author and finisher of faith (Hebrews 12:2) spoke however, he spoke with authority because he was the author; he had legitimate claim to the power AND authority of the Scriptures.

You’ve heard it said that “knowledge is power.” And while this is true, we must not forget that knowledge exists only in words. In reality, words are the real power of the created world. Meaning is infused into words by an authority. French artist Marcel Duchamp despised language because he understood that it pointed to a transcendent Message-sender. Duchamp set out to create his own language, free of any meaning and authority. When he realized that by creating his own language, Duchamp had merely replaced God with himself, he destroyed his work. Language—any language—is authoritarian by its very nature. The creator of the language must give meaning to his “words” in order to communicate. Without meaning, communicating is impossible. Duchamp learned the lesson of the Tower of Babel too late. Words have power because they come from an authority.

This is why one of the first actions of any regime seeking to subvert the current authority will always involve language. Redefining words, creating new ones, controlling the media, and restricting access to alternate viewpoints must take place before any coup can be successful. In “The Principles of Newspeak,” an appendix to George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, we are told:

Newspeak was the official language of Oceania and had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism…The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought—that is, a thought diverging from the principles of IngSoc—should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression  to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever. [1]

Orwell understood the power of words. Control the language; control the people. Notice that Orwell understood that even Newspeak was limited in that it was only effective “at least so far as thought is dependent on words.” Even though this is theoretically true, how many of us actually think in anything other than words. We primarily think and reason conceptually, not pictorially.

Words are important to God as well. He gave us his word—the Bible—and he gave the Word—Jesus Christ. He made words the focus of two of his ten commandments: the third and the ninth. In the third commandment, we are told to not take his name in vain, referring primarily to vows and oaths. In the ninth, we are told to not bear false witness against our neighbor, a reference to being truthful and providing trustworthy testimony. God expects his people to be truthful, to be without reproach in what we say and do. This idea is repeated over and over throughout the entire Bible and when we get to the New Testament we find an interesting application of this concept.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes an observation regarding the third commandment. In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Paul and James both repeat similar admonitions in their letters (2 Corinthians 1:17-20; James 5:12). Commentaries on these passages refer to the historical tradition of the first century Jews to make any and all sorts of vows and oaths against sacred objects, in order to give their promises validity (i.e. authority). Stated another way, they had gotten to the point where their words were no longer trustworthy; their words no longer carried any power because their authority of being truthful people—ones that obeyed God’s third and ninth commandments—had been corrupted. There is no honor among thieves or liars…

Endnote
[1]  George Orwell, 1984 (New York: Signet Classics, 1983 [1949]), 246

 
Article posted June 4, 2009

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From Joel McDurmon at American Vision: Blashphemy and Freedom

June 7, 2009

The following article is copied directly from the American Vision website at http://www.americanvision.org/article/blasphemy-and-freedom/

I’m assuming that I am not violating any copyright laws or Internet eticate by copying the post as I am doing here, but if so, somebody let me know and I will delete it.

I urge my readers to read this article and think about what it is saying.

Although I don’t consider myself a “dominionist”, nor do I hold any particular affection for theonomy, I do listen to the Gary Demar Show and visit the American Vision web site almost daily.  Whether I agree with them or not, I appreciate the usually well-researched and thought-out opinions they articulate.  

This article and the one I will be post afterwards shows us the eternal, transcendent significance of words, something I tried to express way back in one of my first posts on this blog in attempting to exegete the word “logos” in John 1:1 (and clumsily trying to work in some Clarkian scripturalism with it).

Joel —not me— but McDurmon, gets it right here, as does Erick in the post to follow.

Blasphemy and Freedom

Article Image: 2009June05 - Blasphemy and Freedom

by Joel McDurmon

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain (Ex. 20:4-6).

You’ve probably heard the question, “What’s in a name?” Remember that it comes from that famous dialogue between Romeo and Juliet? The maiden from the window above says,

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name;

Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,

And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

…which was her surname. Romeo mumbles to himself, listens on; Juliet continues:

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;

Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.

What’s a Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,

Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part

Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,

And for that name which is no part of thee

Take all myself.[1]

In Juliet’s view, names are, or should be, so meaningless that they can simply be switched whenever convenient. The problem is, society just doesn’t work that way. In fact, her own woe, you may recall, derived from the fact that her and her lover came from feuding families, and those families having detested each other for generations, could not even stand the nameof the other for all that it entailed. She argues that the substance of the thing, or of the person, and not the label, should determine why we value them. But when long use establishes a certain character with a certain appellative, then to overturn that relationship will cause a great social shift. Sometimes, perhaps, that shift needs to take place, other times it necessarily should not. And nowhere is that relationship between character and name more important that at the very foundation of society—religion.

The concept of “God’s name” so closely pertains to His Being and Nature that any affront to any of God’s attributes is subsumed under the very mention of His name. Calvin writes of the Third Commandment, “It is silly and childish to restrict this to the name Jehovah, as if God’s majesty were confined to letters or syllables.… God’s name is profaned whenever any detraction is made from His supreme wisdom, infinite power, justice, clemency, and rectitude.”[2] The reference to God’s name invokes all that God is and stands for.

We have similar references in the New Testament: of Jesus Paul says, there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (Phil. 2:9-10).

So the idea of the majesty of God as represented by God’s name confronts mankind at every turn of life. And so, the commandment against taking God’s name “in vain” fairly warns us against all forms of action, or neglect, concerning the very nature of the God we serve. It means that the Biblical doctrine of God (Who is He?, What is His nature?, What has He done in history?) must inform every act and every decision we make. If the foundations of society rest upon anything less than that God, when we act in the name of God Almighty (for example, the presidential oath including “So help me God”), we have violated the Third Commandment. Conversely, when society begins to denigrate, curse, or swear at the name or mention of God, then we have an even worse situation in which society has attacked God Himself, and has sought to replace Him with something else as the foundation.

Consider for a moment the language of the Commandment. What does it mean to “take” in this passage? We can understand the word in the sense of “carry” or “bear.” Think in this sense of the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant, or of the Israelites pitching their tents beneath respective standards which bore their identities as children of YHWH. Think of the label “Christian,” first given in Antioch (Acts 11:26), and which we bear today. How do we “carry” that label? How do we present that label to the world, and what justice do we do it? Do we bear it in any degree of vanity or emptiness? Implicit in this Third Commandment is a condemnation of hypocrisy—of wearing a label we don’t measure up to in substance. And in not measuring up, we prove ourselves hypocrites, and we dishonor, we can even say blaspheme, the name of the God whose name we bear.

We have such a low view of taking the Lord’s name in vain today. This results from the overall decline of the religion and the influence of the church in society. Today the idea of cursing seems to have much less to do with God’s name than with more mundane forms of vulgarity. This always happens when religion wanes in society. The Oxford scholar Christopher Hill, a renowned expert on the Puritan era, notes the phenomenon long after the end of that age of piety. Speaking of the power of swearing and oaths he writes, 

They survive in industrialized and protestant countries, but as shadows of their former selves, and often the users are unaware of the original significance of swear-words which they employ every day. Blasphemy is no longer a fine art. The live swear-words in such societies are those which offend against something which has much more social reality than God—respectability. Sex and the lavatory have replaced deity, saints and devil as the source of live expletives to-day, because their use breaks a taboo that is still worth breaking.[3]

This has always been my experience. I personally don’t remember a time when cursing didn’t refer to bodily acts, and I was always taught, of course, that these certain words are the curse words, these words are “bad” words and you don’t say them. And while all of that may be true, there was always this great disconnect between the idea of taking God’s name in vain, and what I understood as cursing. That list of bad words, of course, included instances in which the word “God” or the name “Jesus Christ” served as expletives—as we hear all over the radio and TV today—but this only caused me greater confusion. Were theseinstances the actual sin of taking God’s name in vain? If so, why were the other words bad? Later in life when I actually thought about these questions, and grew a little more biblically literate, I decided that the distinction didn’t matter, because St. Paul went well beyond merely the Lord’s name and said, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying” (Eph. 4:9). “No corrupt communication,” pretty much covers it all. But this was a sort of happy state of ignorance for me, since I still really didn’t understand what it meant not to take the Lord’s name in vain.

So what was this “original significance” that Hill mentions above? He gives us a hint of it with an introductory quotation from that same chapter. The following appears in an anonymous tract written in 1614:

The safety of the King himself,… every man’s estate in particular, and the state of the realm in general, doth depend upon the truth and sincerity of men’s oaths.… The law and civil policy of England, being chiefly founded upon religion and the fear of God, doth use the religious ceremony of an oath, not only in legal proceedings but in other transactions and affairs of most importance in the commonwealth; esteeming oaths as not only the best touchstone of trust in matters of controversy, but as the safest knot of civil society, and the firmest band to tie all men to the performance of their several duties.[4]

Proper, honest, godly oath-taking, forms the mortar of healthy society. At the bottom of all, is the foundation of allegiance to God; and the commandment does not forbid swearing period, but swearing in vain. Bearing God’s name in truth—not in vain, but in truth—is the bedrock of religion and therefore of social health. In fact, the very word “religion” means “to bind” in the sense of binding allegiance. Such language fills the Bible: the whole concept of being God’s servant relates to this idea. Paul was a servant of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:1). I hear St. Patrick singing his hymn, “I bind unto my self today, the strong name of the Trinity.” With it all I hear a Scripture passage that Christians hardly ever quote: Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name(Deut. 6:13)!

How often do we as believers exhort each other actually to swear? Swearing, we’ve been taught, is a “no-no” across the board. And yet God commanded the Israelites to do so—to swear by His name. The point is that at the bottom of every way of life, of every religion and every society, stands an ultimate oath. You have to serve somebody. Somebody is your god and you have sworn allegiance to him (or her) already whether you know it or not. You cannot escape worship, authority, or oaths. If you zip-your-lips, and lock the door and swallow the key, and refuse to take any oath whatsoever, you just took one. The question is not “oath or no oath.” The question is Whose name did you take it under? Here we must follow the example of God Himself, “For when God made the promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, He swore by himself” (Heb. 6:13). No wonder He commands us to swear by that name, too.

Not to swear allegiance to God, is to profane His name, and put yours in place of it. The misuse or abuse of God’s name is an initiatory act of rebellion. In society, it represents revolt and revolution. “All swearing is religious, and false swearing represents a subversive drive in society.”[5]This fact manifested recently in a debate between atheists and Christians at Cape Town University on the subject of blasphemy. The atheist professor who agreed to debate backed out two hours before the event started, leaving Peter Hammond of Frontline Ministries alone to lecture from a Christian viewpoint and then field questions. One atheist young lady expressed the myopia of humanistic reasoning in trying to denigrate religion while exalting man: “To call me stupid would be hate speech and be illegal; however, to call Jesus stupid is not illegal and is a religious issue not a legal one.” Another added that hate speech “should of course be illegal,” yet Blasphemy given free reign “because unlike hate speech against homosexuals, no one is going to get hurt.”[6] The first argument, of course, begs the question, assuming up front what it intends to conclude: that religious issues don’t count as legal issues, therefore blasphemy is not “hate speech.” Christians, rather, should argue that blasphemy is the most fundamental and most serious and subversive form of hate speech, and should carry requisite legal sanctions. The second argument simply ignores the facts, that 

every year over 200,000 Christians are murdered worldwide for their Faith. Over 400 million Christians in 64 countries live under governments which do not allow religious freedom. Every year government sponsored hate speech in these countries leads to mob violence against Christians, the burning of churches, often with the congregation inside it, the beheading of Christians, even of young teenage girls, the stoning to death of Christians, crucifixions, mutilations, enslavements, etc.[7]

Logical and factual blunders aside, both arguments display the implicit attack on religious faith that humanism entails. When man sets a higher legal standard for speech against man than he does for speech against God, He explicitly rejects God as King and sets himself in the place of God. Legalized blasphemy represents treason to God and country. George Washington, spying the revolution of atheists, radicals, and deists in France, devoted a portion of his “farewell address” to warn our nation of the consequences of such blasphemy. In this passage—often quoted merely for its positive reference to religion—notice the emphasis on reputation (name), and oath:

Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?[8]

Atheists and humanists begin with man and wish to derive “hate speech” from that standard. This devolves into a state where individuals, culture, law, and art can curse and mock all religion, virtue, sexuality, and all transcendent standards, and seek legal protection for such acts. Thus, homosexuality for example, which incarnates a gross perversion of the sex act—indeed the ultimate mockery of it—seeks legal protection from even criticism. To even decry homosexuality as a perversion is to practice “hate speech” in such a worldview, and in some so-called liberal democracies that boast of so-called “free speech,” a preacher who even reads the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual perversion publicly can find himself in jail. Mankind cannot escape “blasphemy” laws: the question is of who determines whatconstitutes blasphemy. Meanwhile, to highlight a degenerate society’s social hypocrisy, the standard interpersonal curses themselves pertain to sexuality: listen to any rap radio station and you will drown in a deluge of racial slurs interspersed with epithets of maternal incest, while any given foul-mouth on the street finds his readiest curse in willing a forcible sex act upon his annoyer: “f— you.” Humanism wishes legally to protect its perversions while in practice admitting them to be perverse, employing them as curses.

When society displays such characteristics, it reveals the depth of its rebellion against the Creator. The proper way to protect name, reputation, and human rights in general, is not to profane God and exalt man, but just the opposite. Unless men first revere God and honor an ultimate allegiance to the divine origin of mankind, and protect these beliefs by legal consequence, they shall denigrate everything glorious that man can be, and then protect their perversions and obscenity by recourse to legal force.

And so, as with many others of the Ten Commandments, the Third presents us with something that sounds elementary and almost trivial on the surface, but in reality reaches to the most profound depths of human experience. Based on something that we take for granted every day—a name—God shakes us to the very core of our identity. “What’s in a name?” If you’re talking about God, the answer is “everything.”

Endnotes
1
Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet,” II.ii.33–49.
2
Quoted in R. J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, 116.
3 Christopher Hill, Society and Puritanism in Pre-Revolutionary England(New York: Schocken Books, 1967 1964]) 419.
4
Hill, 382.
5R. J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Religion, 110.
6
Reported by Peter Hammond, “Blasphemy Debate at University,” rontline Fellowship News, 2009 Ed. 2, 7.
7
Peter Hammond, “Blasphemy Debate at University,” Frontline Fellowship News, 7.
8
Partially quoted in R. J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Religion, 112.

 
Article posted June 5, 2009

Politics and Basketball – More Similar Than You May Think

June 7, 2009

——-Political Commentary——- 

I took my position under the basket – an unusual position for me, being a small guard.  But my opponent, whom I was defending against, felt he could do more good near the basket than far away.  As the shooter prepared to launch a long shot, I felt myself instinctively pushing against the chest of my foe with my back.  As the ball approached ever closer to the rim, the intensity of the mutual shoving increased exponentially, until finally, as the ball hit the rim, my opponent and I exploded into a shoving, clawing, jumping, fierce and bloody battle.  For what?  For the REBOUND!  O!  How we both desire to get that rebound!

 But let me ask – just what does this scenario indicate?  It indicates an obvious fact: the fact that the reason I was fighting for a rebound is because I DID NOT HAVE THE BALL, else, rebounding would not have been an interesting activity.

And so it is in politics.  The team without the ball is always looking for a block, a steal, a rebound.

Recently, a statue of President Ronald Reagan was unveiled in the rotunda of the United States Capitol building.  This is an honor he richly deserves, seeing that he is perhaps the most historically significant and inspiring US President of the twentieth century.  One might argue that that title belongs to Franklin D. Roosevelt, but Roosevelt worked in an atmosphere of cooperation and support while Reagan worked in an atmosphere of vehement opposition from the mainstream media, Hollywood, and the collectivist one-world.  One must admit this regardless of party or political persuasion.

While Reagan stood in the bitter cold of Reykjavík, awaiting the arrival of the leader of the communist world to negotiate an end to the earth-threatening Cold War, rebounders hoped for his failure.  Later, with victory in hand and standing before the infamous Berlin Wall, with all the boldness of a lion in righteousness, and in direct defiance of frightened advisors, he openly demanded, “Mr. Gorbachev, TARE DOWN THIS WALL!”  Can anyone forget the effect of that speech:  The moistened eyes, the tightened throat, the chill bumps as we realized that we were witnessing greatness at its greatest and the overwhelming pressure that it brought forth on the Russian president, who ultimately acquiesced?  And yet for all that, rebounders were hoping for his failure.

And I believe I can say the same about our most previous president’s tenure.  As George W. Bush bravely faced a lying, sneaking, cold-hearted murderous enemy, his political opponents shamelessly hoped for his failure.  And these rebounders, void of any concern for our people, and apparently motivated only by their own ambitions to power, rather than lending an ethos of optimism to the cause, spewed venomous criticisms on the effort, hoping above all for the failure of the man they seem to hate with an unsurpassed irrationality.

And just what was it about George W. Bush that brings out the tantrumous worst in his haters?  Isn’t it just his cowboy-like mannerisms and lack of a smooth tongue that bothers them?  Not policy (it was relatively liberal), not lack of irenic spirit (he readily compromised with his opponents and even wined, dined, and hosted his bitterest foes in the White House), not even the war (both liberals and conservatives had been beating the drums for war in Iraq unceasingly since the end of the first Gulf War*).  No, I don’t believe it was any of his policies that were the real cause for the foaming loathing of the man.  Really, wasn’t it just his lack of polish that was the source of irritation for liberals, democrats, “moderate” conservatives, and such?

Are we so shallow?  Are we so vain?  That we would destroy our own President because he lacks the suave and debonair of a Frenchman, or the stiff-lipped stoicism of a Brit?  I fear this is so.

President Bush literally stood in the ashes of the buildings and bodies of the World Trade Center and promised to visit the perpetrators of the greatest evil of the twenty-first century with a wrath worthy of their deeds.  And yet for all that and more, a short five years later, the man could not even endorse a candidate for president, being so hated by the people he game himself over to protect.

He shot and missed in Iraq, and the rebounders took possession of the ball.  He shot and missed on some other issues, but politically speaking, Iraq was the big one.  The bad economy sealed his doom, but in reality he had little to do with the economy.  He simply was following the boom-bust Keynesian model like all other presidents since the early twentieth century, and was both blessed and damned by it like most of those presidents.  But no doubt, his handling of Iraq was “a shot and a miss”. 

In basketball, rebounders EARN their rebounds.  But in politics, they simply stand around criticizing and criticizing, slinging mud, slinging mud, until the opponent slips up and the mud begins to stick.

And why do we reward the rebounders?  Political rebounders do nothing to deserve our support, yet we reward them with great acclaim and access to important offices and such.  They promise us the world, and we elect them in hopes that they will deliver on their promises.

But time and time again we are disappointed.  Once in office, they don’t deliver on their campaign promises, nor CAN they deliver on them.  In fact, their policies are often strangely similar to their predecessors.  And so it is today.  Barack Obama is no different than any promise-making candidate before him.  His policy on Iraq and foreign policy in general was to be radically different that Bush’s, but the only difference has been in rhetoric.  But, alas, it seems that to shallow Americans, smooth-talking and false praise for avowed enemies IS policy. 

The reality is that Obama faces the same difficulties that Bush faced.  North Korea continues to build their nuclear powers.  Shallow Americans thought they would stop doing that if we just got a president that would talk nice to them instead of warning and threatening them like Bush did.  But what is the reality?  North Korea has nuclear weapons, they are continuing unabated in perfecting their delivery systems, and they fully intend to use them to intimidate the world into giving them the goods, services, and wealth that their communistic economy cannot provide itself.  And worst of all, they may even actually use them some day.

And how about Iran?  Have they decided to stop their march to nuclear capabilities?  Have they suddenly decided not to destroy Israel as soon as possible now that the President of the United States “talks nice”?  (By the way, George Bush effusively praised Islam as “a religion of peace”)

Yet it seems that the world of politics is the world of the rebounders.  And so the tide ebbs back and forth.  Republicans win, and then the Democrats win, Republican, Democrat, so on.  The phenomenon reminds me of the preacher’s observation in Ecclesiastes:

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.  (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

And so is the nature of basketball and politics.  Back and forth.  Shoot, miss, rebound, shoot, score.  And who wins?  Usually, whoever has the ball last.

And in politics, like in basketball, the crowds become irrational.  Hysteria sets in, and in the primal urge to win, we turn our opponents into demons that deserve our unchecked hatred. 

Just look at basketball fights, how violent they can be.  And political fights too.

Wounding opponents is typical of politics, but the demonization of George W. Bush got way out of control. 

I think some apologies are in order.  Don’t you?