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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Let love into your heart: The Road to Greatness

God is great.  He is the epitome of greatness.  In fact, God's divinity is something  He wants us to strive toward being more like Him.  So,  you can say God is encouraging us to greatness.  I'd also say that He's built into us an innate desire to become great.  That feeling you have that you're destined to do more than what you're currently doing? That's Him.  A little hard wiring that tells us there's something better for us out there.

Some might believe to the answer to attaining such greatness is complex and an utter mystery. The truth is,  however,  that the answer is actually pretty simple.  It's following that answer that's difficult and seemingly complex. And that's what this post,  and perhaps some others, will be about.   Simple things to do that will lead to the greatness God has in mind for us.

In this post I'll talk about keeping love in your heart.   It's funny.   I received the inspiration for this post from the pre school Sunday school class I was teaching this morning in church.   It was so simple,  yet so effectively powerful.  The main tag line was:

What's in my heart will overflow into my life.

The meaning is simple: what thoughts and emotions you fill your heart with,  that is what will manifest in your life and those in your life.  If you put goodness in your heart,  your life will be full of goodness.  If you fill your heart with negativity,  your life will be filled with negativity.

And not only does this affect you,  it affects those around you proportionately to how much they are in your life.   If you fill your heart with "bad things",  your spouse, children, family and even co workers will be affected for the worse.  However,  fill your heart with "good things",  and those same people will be better off because of it.

Of course there's a wide range of emotions and thoughts considered good and bad.   Some may even be seen as having varying levels of good and bad simultaneously.  Thankfully though,  we have a Bible that tells us what's good and bad.   Here are just a handful of each:

Good -  Joy,  gladness, humility,  peace,  and love

Bad -  Sorrow,  doubt,  shame,  jealousy,  spite,  and hate

So if you want a change in your life for the better and make a solid step toward greatness,  take stock of what's in your heart.   Ask God to reveal truth to you in this.  It may hurt and be uncomfortable when encountering some feelings that aren't good.   But give them no excuses or passes.   If you know they're bad or God reveals them to be so,  then they need to go.   Harboring spite and resentment for that ex that did you wrong?  Let it go.  Turn it into forgiveness and love.   You despise someone or a group of people for their beliefs? Turn that again into love and the understanding that these people are still God's children.  Yes,  self examination is hard.  Not because it's difficult to identify problems,  but because it's easy to write them off and ignore them.   It's hard to actually acknowledge them and then do something about them. But if you want to fill your heart with good things, this is where you start.

See? The answer is simple.   Doing it is hard.   But if you want to achieve  true greatness,  this is a simple first step in that direction.

The road to greatness is straight and narrow.   I might have more posts on this subject as I pray and God inspires me.  God bless and fill your heart with God's goodness.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

If there's anything that Scalia's death has shown us, it's that the Supreme Court has way too much power

As it should come to no one's surprise, Scalia was by far my favorite sitting Supreme Court Justice.   There were many times where I said "Thank God we have Scalia in there!".  There are plenty of articles out there extolling his originalism, so I won't go too much into that.   I just want to mention that he was one the most, if not the most, outspoken champion of conservatism this country has had in the last 30 years.  His dissents were marvelous as they shredded the credibility of other opportunistic justices who would put their politics before the Constitution, exposing their own hypocrisy as they legislated from the bench.  

Yet, the fact that many people are considering this man as the last bastion against the overwhelming horde of socialist activism underscores a much deeper problem:  the Supreme Court, and all federal courts for that matter, simply have too much power.    What does it say when we feel our freedoms are being protected only by a handful of men on the Supreme Court?  It says, to me, that the Supreme Court, and other courts, have too much power.  If our constitutional rights can be negated through judicial legislation and the only thing stopping it is a handful of conservative and originalist inspire judges, then something's very wrong with how the system is working today.

Here's the problem.  Liberals, most notably the Obama administration, have been using the courts to continually push their agenda through.   See, since most of the liberal agenda is letting people do what they want (unless when it comes to Christians wanting to express their faith publicly) without some "oppressive law" punishing them, all they really have to do is repeal, stop, neutralize, or get some type judicial reinterpretation of the laws they find oppressive.  Normally, one would do this through elected officials crafted or revising legislation.  But liberals figured out that it's easier and more expedient to instead challenge the law in court and rely on subjective judicial interpretation of the law in hopes that the judge(s) will see it their way.  No law can be crafted this way to make it legal (although the Supreme has pretty much done just that with the gay marriage and Obamacare mandate decisions), but not having a prohibitive law in place is just as good as it being legal to liberals.  In other words, they're exploiting the mechanism used to prevent true democracy (mob rule) from taking over (as the saying goes "Democracy is two wolves and 1 lamb deciding what to have for lunch, while Liberty is a well armed sheep contesting the vote". )  by either negating a law or "reinterpreting" a law that suits their own, usually non originalist definition.  It's kind of a legislative back door, so to speak, that's taken advantage of repeatedly.

On top of that, judges at virtually all levels have no immediate accountability for the decisions they make.  Sure, some can be ousted from office via election. But, whatever they ruled on stands, even if it's a breathtakingly total abuse of their power that defies logic or law. That is, unless an appeal is made to a  higher court and it's overturned.  But some times that's not an available option.  Basically, a judge's power within their own courtroom is pretty much absolute.  With such a potential for abuse of power, the best way to keep that power in check is for those appointing these judges (or even those electing) to pick someone who is objective and willing to uphold the law over their personal opinions.  Yet, that doesn't seem to be the case these days.  The Obama administration, known for appointing people with clear partisan biases that have also clearly acted on those biases, has appointed roughly 40% of all federal court judges in the past 7 years.  When you have an administration that's turned the Department of Justice into the Department of Social Justice and the IRS into an oppression machine, would you really trust that these Obama appointees will truly be as impartial as they're supposed to be?  

So, what to be done?  Unfortunately, there's not a lot that can be done.  Any mechanism that would rely on the vote of the people to overturn or negate a judge's poor decision runs the risk of slipping into a form of mob rule where the people could override  any decision they didn't like, defeating the purpose of the courts themselves.  While I can't think of a perfect solution, I do have ideas..

First, judges should have term limits, even Supreme Court Justices.  Also, all judges should be elected (and re-elected) by the people over which they preside.  This means that the Supreme Court would have national elections.  Every so often one or several seats would come up for re-election.  The same would be true for the lower courts, but only the people in the area of the country that they preside over would vote for them.  

At least this way, if there's an "activist judge" not upholding their oaths of office, then the people can vote them out and get someone hopefully better on there.  Also, while the peopel wouldn't be able to directly counteract  a terrible decision, at least how the judges got into office was the "will of the people" and not at the mercy of the current administration and mood of our Senate.  

In fact, I believe all elected officials across all government branches should have term limits.  Remember that power can corrupt.  Especially if it's power that one can hold onto indefinitely.  This type of power should only be held temporarily, reducing the risk of corruption making a lasting impact.  

In any case, the power judges, especially the Supreme Court Justices, wield and their lack of accountability along with virtually "for life" terms is a prime example of how power should not only be checked and balanced by other branches, but by time itself.  

Any candidate running that's serious about "washington reform" should run on a term limit, for both Congress and Judges, platform. Here's to hoping enough have the boldness to do just that.

Monday, February 15, 2016

New Hampshire Primaries: Trump wins big and the irony of Bernie Sanders

It's been a week since the New Hampshire primaries, but I wanted to give another round of political commentary regarding these races because a couple interesting things happened in both parties.  New Hampshire, much like Iowa, is another "first in the nation" contest.  But instead of being absolutely first like Iowa, New Hampshire is the first "real" primary since Iowa is a caucus and technically  not a primary.  And while there are some differences, they're not big enough really to make much of a difference to the common voter.  Anyway, to the results.  This week, I'll start with the Republicans.

Donald Wins Big

The biggest news with the Republican races is that Trump won and he won big.  Not only did he have more than double the second place vote, he always won in every demographic. There have been a lot of snobby, disparaging remarks from political elites and some other candidates about Trump's supporters such as they're mostly "uneducated"(aka stupid according to the snobby types).  Yet, that's not what the demographic results show.  Even though he did win the biggest among those without a college education, he still won the demographics of those with some college and also a degree. He won among male and female, young and old.  

Unlike Cruz's win in Iowa, this win by Trump is very convincing as it completely dominated.  And unlike in Iowa, Cruz only managed to get 12% for a third place finish.  Trump's win here is very reminiscent of eventual nominee status and I'm sure he'll point that out over this week leading into South Caroline and Nevada where he's leading polls by double digits.  

Of course, there is a valid point that can be made by pointing out the difference in Iowa's and New Hampshire's results.  From a Christian standpoint, one could say that Iowa still largely retains strong core Christian values while New Hampshire is more secular, which isn't necessarily a good thing for our continually morally declining culture.  And this point could be reinforced if Trump has another round of convincing wins in South Carolina and Nevada.  

Personally, while I've always liked Cruz, whom I voted for in the Iowa caucus, and think he'd be a fine president, I'd be blind and ignorant to simply dismiss Trump simply because he doesn't necessarily share the same core Christian values I do.  The results in New Hampshire show a candidate uniting people from different walks of life and generating enthusiasm that hasn't been seen in a Republican candidate in a very long time.  Whether you personally like Trump or not, simply writing him off for his Big New Yorker persona is a mistake.   I know he has a lot of undesireable things regarding his stance on social issues and is anathema to values voters. Keep in mind though, God can use anyone for his desires.  And while yes, that means he could even use someone like Bush, the type of authenticity Trump generates is clearly resonating.  And if he receives the nomination, I will vote for him, but I'll also write a post making a case for those turned off by Trump to still give him a chance.

Bernie ironically feels the bern of socialism

Bernie Sanders thoroughly trounced Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.  In a two person contest, he nearly doubled Clinton in total votes.  So he should have received 2/3 of the state's delegates, right?Nope!  See, the Democratic primary process has these things called super delegates.  Super delegates are individuals that can cast their delegate for whomever they want and are not bound by the results of the people's vote.  Because of this, Hillary, despite losing gloriously, managed to get the same amount of delegates as Sanders because all of the super delegates are voting for Hillary.  

In other words, the Democratic nomination system slaps its own party base in the face by indicating that there are certain individuals whose choice matters more than the every day, common citizen the party so vocally claims to support.  To put it another way,it's saying these super delegates know what's best for the party than the party's general public base.  Sound familiar?  Why, yes it does! Socialism, with its heavy emphasis on central planning and programming does the exact same thing.  A small few, many times unelected, tell everyone else what's best for the country.  

So, Bernie, an unabashed socialist, ends up being the victim of a rigged socialist Democratic nomination process.  Oh, the irony.  It'll be interesting to see how many times Bernie trounces Hillary in a state, but somehow doesn't manage to pull ahead in delegates thanks to these super delegates.

Looking forward

The Republican field trimmed down a bit more after New Hampshire.  Two establishment candidates, Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina, both dropped out.  Will we see a bump in Bush or Kasich's numbers as a result? And while it's possible Trump could win big again in these states, the bigger number to pay attention to is the total of Bush and Kasich's votes.  When one inevitably drops out. chances are most of their supporters will go to the other or even Rubio, which is a problem for Trump.  While he is winning now, an argument can be made that it's because support is spread across all the other candidates.  While those candidates can be seen to gain from other candidates dropping out, it's hard to see how a Kasich supporter would rally to Trump instead of Bush or Rubio.  In other words, Trump is unlikely to gain more support from candidates dropping out.  So, it'll be interesting to see what happens after South Caroline and Nevada if other candidates, such as Carson and Bush or Kasich, drop out.

The implications of super delegates giving Hillary the nomination is a recipe for revolt far more than anything that's happened on the Republican side, including the dirty tricks the RNC has pulled to keep Ron Paul from getting the nomination.  If Hillary gets the nomination this way, will Bernie run on an independent ticket?  Even if he didn't, I could still see many fervent Bernie supports simply not voting for someone they see an entitled, out of touch, career politician that never really cared about her constituents.

Once again though, in both parties, the "authentic outsider" won big.  This upcoming weekend will see if this is the beginning of a trend or just a fluke.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dear Christians: Life is messy...and God wants us to be right in the thick of it

Many times as of late, I'll read complaints about the "lack of love" and "overwhelming negativity" in certain social settings and media.  Facebook is often the culprit.  From complaints by individuals to news outlets talking about "breaks from Facebook" to even studies showing the supposed negative health impact of Facebook, the social media platform is often used as a scapegoat for the stress one has in their lives.  And while I'll not deny that Facebook can cause stress, I do think it's a mistake, particularly for Christians, to completely disengage from it simply because of a perceived lack of love and overwhelming negativity in their news feed.

Why?  Because life is messy.  Most Christian adults have a sense of how people should act according to the Bible and they personally strive to be as Christ like as possible.  There's a certain amount of decency, common sense, respect and tact that someone expects not only out of themselves, but out of others as well.  But then, lo and behold, someone doesn't meet that expectation.  Not only do they not meet the expectation, they may have set an embarrassing new low for their behavior.  And it creates drama.  Then that drama spawns more drama as more people get upset that someone else shattered or sunk their behavioral expectations.  Next thing you know, you have a perpetuating cacophony of negativity and mean emotions flying about.  And it all could have been prevented, or at least mitigated, if those people with their negative, loveless behavior would just grow up!

Except that realization often times never happens.  And it's because people are flawed and broken and will make mistakes - even mistakes where they should know better or are even aware what they're doing is quite right. In other words, people make social messes all the time.  Even if everyone knew and agreed with what's the right and wrong things to do, there would still be messes because no one is perfect and they will make mistakes, even when they strive to not make them!

While it is a noble pursuit to be more Christ like and it's definitely not ok to act in an uncouth, negative or loveless manner, to be genuinely offended or upset when someone else doesn't meet that expectation is simply inviting a never ending stream of stress into their lives.  But more importantly, to disengage from this environment because of the stress is doing you, and God's kingdom, a disservice.

You see, God wants us to connect with people...even those people who air their dirty laundry on Facebook, get combative with their relatives, or generally be negative in the content they post.  He wants us to get "in the trenches" and meet people where they are.  And you can't do that if you disengage from the social landscape.  And speaking of social landscape, if your ideal social landscape is an aloof pristine, easily mowed lawn complete with a "STAY OFF" sign, then you're doing it wrong.  Life's social landscape is more like nature untouched by man.  It's messy, inconsistent, lopsided, non symmetrical, sticky, rough, seemingly random and uncaring of what you want it to be.  Sounds great right?  No, not really.  But that's where we're going to make the connections.

And when it comes to messy and unpredictable, how we make those connections are just as messy.  See, our position in the social landscape, where God has placed us, is unique.  Where we're at and the skills and gifts we have mean we will make connections differently. Even someone in the same "place" in the social landscape will make connections differently because they have a different set of skills and gifts.

This is why it's a mistake to disengage.  God placed us where we are for a reason.  No, it doesn't mean we have to fight every battle or speak up on everything that grabs our attention.  But we DO need to do is come in with a servant, humble attitude and expect that things will get messy.  The brilliant part is if you're connected with God, then the dreaded stress from navigating a messy social landscape is lifted! Give it to Him!  All that's needed from you is to do His will. You might not see the fruits of your deeds and your deeds might not even yield the fruits you're expecting.  But that's ok!  Trust that God knows what He's doing.  Give Him the stress and the weariness.

Life's messy social landscape is tiresome.  We don't want it to be and can get frustrated when people don't act like they should. We will get worn out.  We will get tired.  Things won't go the way we want or expect them to.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't be there.  Thankfully, we have a God that can lend His strength and lift our burdens.  He wants us to be in there and love people - especially when they're spouting negative, loveless words.

So when you've had enough with Facebook, or any type of stressful social environment, don't disengage.  Instead, give your burdens to God, ask for strength and embrace life's messy social landscape. It's where we as Christians should be.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

And so it begins - the Iowa Caucus results and what they mean

While the presidential election race has been in full swing for over 6 months now, it didn't really officially start until last night in Iowa.  Everything before was based on polls and debate performance to determine front runners, but there was nothing truly substantial to get a sense of which candidates were doing well and which are floundering or should just drop out.  Until last night.  Iowa is the first state in the nation to hold its form of the presidential primaries.  It's the first event where people actually vote for a candidate.  It's the first time where the results actually have some substance to them.

Both parties had their Iowa caucus last night and I'll discuss both of them.  But first, in case you're not aware of how the primary/caucus process works, I'll give you a very brief overview.  In order for a candidate to secure their party's nomination they must acquire a majority of the available delegates.  Each state has a primary or caucus which allows citizens to vote for their candidates.  And based on the results of those votes, candidates will be awarded a certain amount of delegates.  How a candidate earns delegates can vary between both states and parties.  Some states, like Iowa, award delegates in proportion to the percentage of the vote they earned.  Other states, like Florida, give all their delegates to the winner.  There are also a bunch of variations in each type of delegate awarding scheme and even when the delegates are awarded the same way in the state, the process for determining who wins can be different between parties.  It can be rather confusing,  but for the sake of this post, it's just important to understand what the caucuses and primaries ultimately do:  award delegates to candidates that in turn decide the party's nominee for the general (November) election.

Now, let's get down to each party.  I'll start with the Democrats because why not?  Anyone reading this blog already knows my biases, so don't be surprised if I'm not too flattering of either candidate.  Anyway...


Hillary (Clinton) edged Bernie Sanders by the smallest of margins - 49.9% to 49.6%.  And while a win is a win, it's not really much of a loss for the Bern.  Clinton ends up with 22 delegates while Sanders gets 21.  O'Malley, the "other candidate", promptly dropped out even before 50% of the votes were tallied due to bringing in less than 1%.  

My Take

While the devotion to Hillary still makes me shy and shake my head, I'm actually more surprised at how many people are buying into Bernie's schtick.  I'll give the guy one thing, he's unabashed and authentic.  He not only doesn't try to hide his socialist stripes, he wears them proudly and isn't afraid to go fully Monty, even when his absurd tweets points to a man who has a frighteningly terrible grasp on economics.  I'm not just surprised really, but truly dumbfounded by the amount of support he's received.  Back in 2008, Obama ran on "hope and change", which was just thinly disguised socialist rhetoric with no substance.   Yet, here we are again 8 years later and people are rallying around a candidate doing the same exact thing, except dialing up the rhetoric (and therefore exposing their ignorance that much more) even past what Obama did.  

But it makes sense.  Even though socialism has failed every. single. time., the complaint by the socialists is that they didn't have everything they wanted or needed for it to be successful - they lament of those that try to stop them or those that haven't fully drunk the kool aid keeping them from their free stuff, lounge about comfortably utopia.  In other words, they'll blame its failures on not getting everything they wanted - which will never happen in the real world, ever.
But what's even more terrifying are those people who vote for him knowing full well someone, even themselves later on in their lives, are paying for their "free stuff" and things will ultimately get worse - but they just don't care.  It's free to them right now and they don't have to pay for it for another 20 years if at all.  So why should they care?  A generation full of people with that attitude is truly terrifying.  


The Republican race was a little more interesting.  Here's how it shook out:
Ted Cruz - 28%
Donald Trump - 24%
Marco Rubio - 23%
Ben Carson - 9%
Rand Paul - 5%
and a bunch of other candidates under 5%.

My Take

While Cruz is the winner, and the guy I voted for, the fact there's only a 5 point difference between him, Trump and Rubio really means there is no clear cut leader in the race.  Cruz is my guy, but his win is not nearly as convincing as I hoped it would be.  Perhaps his numbers would be higher if some of the other candidates had dropped out, but you could say that about just any candidate.  What's even more worrisome is that in the past two Iowa Caucuses, this was their high point in the primaries (Huckabee in 2008, Santorum in 2012) .  Afterward, they just became less and less a contender.  Perhaps the shorter, more intense primary season may address this, but the only thing about Cruz's victory that's substantial is his viability in the race.  He is viable and a top tier candidate.  His win last night makes that clear. 

Trump, I'd have to say, is the biggest loser.  While I've no illusions about Trump's conservative chops (he doesn't really have any), I definitely see his appeal.  He's a highly visible, popular, and successful persona.  When one thinks of rich and successful, Donald Trump is usually at the top of the list of names people would come up with.   He's not the most likeable guy.  He brags and seems very self centered at times.  But you cannot deny the appeal he brings.  Given that he sells himself as an expert negotiator with a proven and successful track record that can't be bought by donors is a very strong appeal to a nation tired of the same old politician bait and switch (Republicans especially after giving their party the majority in both houses, yet still they capitulate to the Obama administration).  And it's caught on, as Trump has pointed out endlessly by showing poll numbers where he's been in the lead.  Yet despite his poll numbers and some people predicting a big night for him, he under performed enough to be taken out of the top spot.  This has to be the biggest concern since he's been relying on those polls to prove that the American people are behind him.  Thus, if the polls aren't really reflective of the voter base, then his front runner status, since we now have some real results to go by, is in question.  He's leading heavily in New Hampshire polls, but will he under perform there as well?  It was mentioned that Trump didn't spend very much nor had a lot of organization in Iowa.  It's anyone's guess though if increased spending or a better ground game would have boosted his numbers given the uniqueness of his candidacy (Are traditional boots on the ground campaign strategies effective for such an already popular person?)

Then there's Rubio, probably the biggest winner of the night.  No one, except perhaps his campaign staff and supporters, expected him to do so well.  He was polling at 15% for Iowa, but then came away with 23%.  That's an 8 point over performance, which is huge in the electoral world.  He was within striking distance of Trump's second place spot and only 5 points behind Cruz.  This may point to Rubio's more Reaganesque appeal over the other two.  While Cruz is definitely more conservative, he's also more combative and in your face.  He's still an effective communicator and while I like that aspect to him, other people will be turned off to it.  Rubio, on the other hand, is very effective at uniting people while still standing on his principles.   It gives him a high claim to electability.  But ironically, I see that as part of the problem.  And it has to do with his involvement in the "gang of eight" immigration reform bill that floated around a few years ago.  As part of a "bipartisan effort" (which is just Democrat speak for getting Republicans to cave in to their demands), a huge immigration bill was sent to the Senate.  It passed the Senate via exceptions written in for certain Republican's states to get their vote.  It was not a good piece of legislation and Rubio is forever tied to it.  He lost a  lot of trust from the conservative base that day.  Because either a.) he's not as conservative as he claims to be as is evidenced in him supporting that bill or b.) he was duped by the Democrats into going along with it.  Neither option is very promising.  I can almost chalk it up to a "lesson learned: don't trust Schumer again" idea, and I want to, but the worry that he will betray his voters just like the Senate and House leadership has will always be there.  I don't have that same concern with Cruz.  I'd be happy with a Rubio presidency as long as he sticks to his guns.  

Carson, whom I still think is a great man, came out where I expected.  His campaign has been floundering lately, though they did accuse the Cruz campaign of "tricking" voters into thinking that Carson was suspending his campaign.  I'm not sure how much I believe that.  The Carson campaign manager himself had let slip a week or two earlier that they'e had endorsement talks (as in who should they endorse if they halt their campaign), so it's not like it wasn't already on some voter's minds.  I definitely think the campaign should keep going to New Hampshire and maybe South Carolina.  But he'll need a breakthrough soon or else it'd be best for him to get behind one of the top 3.   

Rand Paul, another senator I like, is kind of a mystery to me.  I'll admit I haven't paid much attention to him lately, but I'm not sure why he's so low in the polls.  His ideas are largely sound and he's a Constitutionalist at heart with a libertarian streak.  One would think that to be a potent combination.  But I guess it's not.  Much like the Carson campaign, he should see how he does in the next primaries, but call it quits if his situation doesn't drastically improve.

As for the rest...Bush, Kasich, and Fiorina in particular, should hang it up.  While yes, Iowa isn't an indication of how the entire primary race can go, that only accounts for so much leeway.  In 40 years of Iowa Republican caucuses, the lowest percentage the eventual nominee won was 13% by John McCain in 2008.  The lowest percentage a general election winner has won in Iowa is 19% by George H.W. Bush in 1988.  Jeb Bush, the highest out of the others group had 2.8%.  Even if you gave him all of the votes from all the candidates performing below him ( totalling 8.4%), you'd still only come up to 11.3%, still short of McCain's low mark in 2008 and well short of the lowest percentage of a winning general election candidate.  Historically speaking, it would take an unprecedented electoral miracle for Bush, let alone Kasich or Fiorina, to not only grab the nomination, but win. Stop wasting resources on lost causes and put them behind more viable candidates so that the party as a whole can come together sooner and be more prepared for the general election.


So after looking at both races and the results, I think it's quite clear what many people, even Democrats, are looking for in this election: Authenticity.  As misguided as Bernie Sanders is in his socialism, he's authentic.  His performance last night showed that authenticity resonating.  People have seen enough of Hillary over the last 20+  years to get a sense of her being a phony.  She's an old guard politician that has lot touch with her electorate.  And people are tired of the entitled "political class", especially one believing in the inevitability of her presidency.  On the Republican side, the top two are also authentic.  Cruz has always done what he said he was going to do and what the people of Texas elected him to do.  He's done the right thing even if earned him enemies in Washington.  (I mean can you remember any Senator in living history calling his own party's leader in the Senate a liar to his face on the Senate floor?  That takes courage and boldness).  And Trump, whether you like him or not, is authentic in his own way.  He also does what he says he's going to do.  He can't be bought.  He'll say what he wants to say and to heck with anyone who says otherwise.  Some people don't trust him, but I just don't see it.  As a businessman, it makes no sense for him to lie so completely as to betray his supporters.   He may not hold to the same conservative values that I do, but I cannot deny his authenticity in wanting to make America great again and how he'd go about doing it.  

Our country has a deep mistrust of politicians and rightfully so.  Congressional approval ratings have been below 20% for the last 5-6 years, bottoming out at 9%.  They don't do what they say they're going to do.  In some cases, they do the opposite.  And people are tired of it.  They want someone who's going to actually DO what they say they're going to do.  They don't want another polished politician that's good at telling them what they want to hear.  They're willing to excuse a person's eccentricities as long that person is authentic in what they say and do.  They're even willing to overlook a plan that not's perfect.  That authenticity is what ignites passion.  And, just like anything, the emotional and moral appeal of someone authentic will always win out over someone who sounds smooth and practiced and has to spend energy spinning their inconsistencies.

I'm looking forward to seeing how New Hampshire plays out.  But if there's one thing that's refreshing so far, is that at least the Republican side is not in the grip of establishment cronies, though I'm sure they'll try to find a way to weasel their way into the picture.  I just hope this streak of authenticity keeps up.