Category: Politics

Gracious in Defeat

Pete Alonso was shooting for a three-peat, hoping to win the Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium, the site of the MLB All-Star game.

He reached the semifinals, but the semifinal winner was a young rookie phenom on the Seattle Mariners named Julio Rodriguez.  In his post-Derby interview, Alonso expressed what a thrill it was to compete again and complimented the effort of the victor.

“Sometimes it’s just not good enough. I thought I put up a great performance, but J-Rod was just better tonight. He did an excellent job and sometimes you just gotta tip your hat.”

 He said he’d look forward to the chance to do it again next year.

“If I’m healthy and I’m willing and able, then absolutely,” Alonso said. “I love this event; I think it’s an absolute blast.”

Wouldn’t it be great if a politician who lost could be so complimentary towards the guy that beat him? And have a wonderful anticipatory attitude towards their possibly having a rematch?

 I’d be much more likely to vote for a politician who expressed such a gracious attitude!


I just listened to the finale podcast of Dan Carlin Hardcore History Supernova in the East.[i] It concludes by describing the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Exceptionally grim details.

For those of us who were kids during the cold war…. we would wake up from having a nukemare. In one of mine a fireball was over the Alpine Tower (which was visible from my New Jersey bedroom window in Tenafly), and thousands of birds were flying away from the flames.

I now view it as likely that a nuclear weapon will be used somewhere during my remaining lifetime. I am surprised that it has been almost 77 years since atomic weapons were used against Japan, but I can think of reasons for the delay.

First, in the US vs USSR cold war, we had the MAD (mutual assured destruction) doctrine. That was a strong constraint against atomic warfare. Second, other nuclear-armed countries like Israel and the UK have behaved responsibly. Even nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have (so far) not brought nukes into their disputes over Kashmir.

But what about the largest invasion force in Europe since WW 2 poised on the Ukrainian border? I am surprised that, considering all the nukes that are in that area, I have not heard much talk about nuclear risk.

I don’t know if Putin would nuke Ukraine. But now consider proliferation. Countries that want to join the nuke club. Would North Korea nuke South Korea? What would hold Kim back? Self-preservation? What if he thought could get away with it? And what about Iran with its hatred of Israel?

I know that God is in control of history. God has (so far!) restrained nukes. But will this restraint last indefinitely? Could there be a World War III nuclear conflagration that would be the end of life as we know it on our planet?

I don’t have a crystal ball for that. So, I’ll conclude with the advice from Ecclesiastes:

Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.

Good to keep right with God in advance of any nukemare!


My Encounter With Bob Dole

In 1996 at lunchtime, I jogged from my IT job at UPS to the Morristown Green, to attend a lunchtime rally for Presidential Candidate Bob Dole. (That was back when Republicans thought they had a chance to actually win New Jersey’s electoral votes.)

I shook Bob Dole’s left hand and said, “On to victory!”

When I got back to the office a colleague said: ” Don’t wash that hand!”

Well, Bob Dole didn’t go on to victory that year even though he did come closer to Bill Clinton than expected.



No matter how kindly we frame it, the message of Jesus draws opposition.   Several years ago, Vanderbilt University derecognized various Christian groups because they required that to hold a leadership position in their group, you needed to believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead after his crucifixion.

The Vanderbilt administration said that to forbid someone from being a group leader for not believing in the resurrection was intolerant! The Christian leaders showed a winsome attitude as they explained what they believed and why they believed it. But basically the administrators said, “We don’t care about your kind attitude; your beliefs are discriminatory and your groups are hereby banned from campus.”

I at least give the administrators credit for having an accurate grasp of the real core issue. You might think that they would evict Christian groups due to disputes about cultural issues such as abortion or gay rights.  But the administrators chose the key Christian distinctive that has not and will not ever change: we owe our lives to, and base our lives on, faith in a resurrected man.

The Vanderbilt fight, then, has a helpful lesson:  We don’t want to erect false obstacles by saying that being a Christian is defined by a list of positions that you must take in the culture wars. (Indeed, when fights about abortion and gay rights die down, they will only be replaced by a new set of culture war issues.)

I’m not saying that political issues are irrelevant or unimportant. But they are all less important than this claim:  Jesus is alive. And he wasn’t blowing smoke when he said he will return to rule as King. Neither Republican nor Democrat, and not a capitalist and not a socialist, he won’t allow any fights over culture war issues. We will laugh at the idea that we once thought that the right political solutions would bring heaven on earth.

Does all that sound too good to be true? It’s not. Check out this promise about Jesus’ return: He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)