Call me Chris.

Audio link to the World According to Chris: Episode 23

I have a handful of things I want to get into today. I want to discuss what compelled me to pick up my pen and begin writing again. I want to discuss the 1776 Commission Report that was released just before President Trump left office. I also want to discuss the creeping censorship that is making its way across our landscape. To do that, I need to start with something very personal.

You see, a year ago at this time, I was already underway in my novel, The Borderlands, but I hit a wall in my writing. The ideas were there. The story was visible in my head. I just couldn’t get it onto paper except in fits and spurts. This wasn’t the standard writer’s block where we go through peaks and valleys within our creative selves. This was directly attributable to something I was doing to me. It was alcohol. I wasn’t what you could call an alcoholic in the meanest sense of the word. I still held down a job—doing it well enough that nobody would notice my desire to have a drink after work. I still went through the motions of being there for my family. Where I failed my loved ones, and myself is that I wasn’t emotionally present. This led to an inability to be there to uplift and support those who needed me. It also led to a failure to care for myself or anything productive I might do with my spare time.

Fortunately, I have been sober for ten months. I have battled with abusing alcohol in the past. It never reached a point where it kept me from seeming normal, were you to meet me on the street. It did keep me from doing much of anything to work on who I wanted and needed to be. I tried sobriety in the past. I tried AA. Each of those times, I did it for someone else. That’s still noble. Trying to get sober for your loved ones is a gesture that you want to be better for them. It’s not enough. If you’re not getting sober for yourself, you can’t ever maintain sobriety for others.

Something switched in my head just after the Covid shutdowns began. I was drinking more than I should. I was ignoring the signs of my own emotional and mental well-being. My judgment was slipping.

And then God slapped me across the face.

It was sobering in itself. I finally saw me as God saw me. I saw a person capable of so much more. I saw a person who wasted the precious gifts of life and critical thinking. I saw someone who would end up pushing his family away if he didn’t stop being that sad and miserable someone.

I cried. I prayed. I got rid of all the alcohol I had around. The first few days were the toughest. It had become such a habit, I needed something to fill the emptiness I suddenly felt. That came through more crying, praying, and journaling. I got pretty low when I took stock of the embarrassment I became to myself. I considered that my family may be better off if I weren’t around to hurt them any longer.

More crying and praying led me to one of the most remarkable signs from Our Lord in Heaven that I have ever felt. When I was at my lowest—and felt utterly isolated behind walls I had thrown up between my loved ones and me—I sat on a hill (you might call it a mountain as it’s about 6,500 feet above sea level) and overlooked Denver. I could see the entire horizon. The mountains were beautiful in the background. The city lay beneath me. I sat there alone. I asked God to have someone—anyone—come across my path. I told God I would understand if He did or didn’t send someone up that lonely hill. You see, it was a path set back from where most people hiked. Most days, I never saw another person. On this particular day, God sent a man and a little boy up that hill. In my heart, I know they were angels. In my spiritual soul, I know God sent them to save me.

And as I watched them walk by, I held back the tears, smiling and waving until they had gone on their way. After they left, I broke down and cried. I fell to my knees in heavy sobs. My breathing became shallow because God had again touched my life through another miracle.

I’ve always believed in God. I took him as my Lord and Savior at the age of ten when I fully understood what that meant. Even before then, I knew God existed. He took me from a terrible lot in life and blessed me with so many beautiful gifts. I only ever lived—beyond that which any of us live—through His direct intervention and Grace.

Both my wife and I were forced to walk lonely journeys to get where we are (even though God blessed me with a fantastic family who adopted me, I carried hidden guilt for decades). Her road has been much more formidable than mine—much more challenging than anyone I’ve ever met in person. Still, both of us know God set us apart from our circumstances to do something with our lives, carrying out His Will. I’m only just reconciling my own guilt from having been granted opportunities I didn’t earn any more than any other State ward baby. Alas, this is part of the process of personal growth.

Everything I’ve shared thus far has been a prelude to what I wanted to tell you. It’s the backstory to the person I am trying to shape myself into. I believe God gives each of us a handful of gifts. How we use these gifts is up to us. One of the gifts I believe God bestowed upon me is the ability to communicate my feelings, ideas, and thoughts through the written word. Perhaps, I overestimate my own ability. That’s for you to decide.

So, I realized after I felt God’s guiding hand on my spirit that I needed to get back into my writing. Suddenly sober, my mind was no longer clouded. I was able to share the story through The Borderlands that describes my people through my words. I knew when I was done writing it that I would need to engage in other writing, though I didn’t realize at the time what that would be.

I prayed on it, and God guided me towards expanding my writing. I created a website, fumbling through what that even meant. I began to blog on my website, having never been the sort of person to share with an audience I didn’t get to self-select. I discovered that I enjoyed this sort of writing. I still plan to develop and write other novels. That’s for another day, though.

Through blogging, I realized I wanted to write actual articles—opinion pieces based on political and social issues confronting us each day. I’m still working through what all of this means. I’m not sure of where it will lead, if anywhere. Perhaps, it’s God’s way of providing me a cathartic outlet to express myself, even if nobody hears me. So, I write. I write about what I see going on around me. I share that writing with others, here on my blog, through the blessings of two men of God, William C. Hall, and Wayne Dupree, on their websites; and possibly on any other platform I may be able to find—be it social media or other, currently untold, possibilities.

And the piece I wanted to write about today is the 1776 Commission and the Presidential Advisory Commission’s report.

President Donald Trump has a tremendous love for our great nation. I believe that even if you do not. Still, being a flawed human—as are we all—his passion for the United States is often overshadowed, for some, through the way he communicates his message. Perhaps, you struggle with his past mistakes and cannot see how to reconcile those grievances with the actions he undertook to make Americans proud of our nation again. I believe that most of our past mistakes can be atoned for through better future behavior. Whether you agree with this sentiment, you may continue to hold to the position that President Trump’s antagonistic messaging did not show a changed man. I politely disagree and prefer to judge the man by his actions instead of his harshest words.

Loving our country, Donald Trump chose to create the Presidential Commission to reinforce a value-based education built on respect for the incredible genesis of such a unique national experiment as the United States of America. Nowhere in the report produced do its authors EVER suggest that America has been perfect or without flawed judgments and behaviors. The report focuses on the tremendous undertaking that was our Founding in 1776, describes the growing pains we went through and continue to experience, and how we can build a society that loves, respects, and perpetuates the beautiful experiment of representative republicanism.

I chose to write about the commission and its report today because our new President, Joe Biden, signed an Executive Order this past week that deactivated the commission. It should be understood that the commission, itself, was created to counter the nefarious 1619 Project. This alternate version of American history is built on a faulty premise that we can judge past figures and their behaviors by current standards of social norms.

Any reading of history that judges the past against the present through a lens of current social norms and values is entirely void of context. I will stand by that statement until my dying day. We can only judge past figures and their behaviors against their contemporaries. We know more now than they did then. We live differently now than they did then. We learned, hopefully, from their mistakes. And we will make our own mistakes to be judged by future generations. The edgy, sophisticated crowd that looks at the past with condescension will, themselves, be judged by our unborn progeny who fancies their future selves as edgy and sophisticated. It is an utterly ignorant and self-serving way to view history.

So, when President Biden signed an Executive Order deactivating the commission, he began a process that will serve those who wish to rewrite history through a self-serving lens. Where this will lead is anyone’s guess; though, we can postulate it will not end well. In so doing, President Biden may not have engaged in censorship himself, yet still perpetuated a type of censorship through erasing an objective reporting of history.

And this censorship is growing and manifesting across the country on social media platforms and through a lack of journalistic integrity. The Washington Post scrubbed unflattering lines from a previous story about Vice President Kamala Harris because it did not fit their current narrative. When caught, they quietly reset the story to its original state. We can all see the dangers of censorship in our own time. I don’t worry about that. What concerns me is the future danger of current censorship.

We know what we know about history because of the record left for us to discover and review. We know of past triumphs and failures. We know of past transgressions we hope to avoid because we can read about them or see their images cast before our eyes. What will happen when future generations cannot know our entire record because it has been scrubbed from existence? What will happen when those future souls cannot even speculate about our motives or actions because they have no starting point to analyze our current state of being?

Undoubtedly, many in the past scrubbed from the annals of history that which they did not want to be recorded for posterity. We can guess who some of them were. We can speculate as to their reasons. Unfortunately, we can’t even scratch the surface of the number of times it has already happened or the underlying causes. We don’t even know what we are looking for. Even if we found some clue, it would be like finding only a piece of some unknown puzzle rather than finding the Rosetta Stone.

This is the actual cost of censorship. Its penalty on future society cannot be measured. And we do it for what? Because we don’t like how some people speak or Tweet to one another? Because we’ve decided that only curated information deserves to be documented? Penalizing all future mankind because we dislike current individuals is draconian and incredibly short-sighted. If my voice were silenced because of my mistakes, how would my daughter learn from me? Doesn’t she deserve the opportunity to see the entire picture to draw her own conclusions?

We are left with flawed individuals judging other flawed individuals, deciding on what can and cannot be presented in a historical record for future generations.

As always, this has been the World According to Chris.

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