A friend posted on his Facebook page some pictures of smoldering aircraft wreckage taken from the battlefields of Ukraine in past days. The caption read, “For those who have trouble identifying Russian aircraft.”
Each window in the display contained a wreckage photograph and a label of the type of aircraft the wreckage was: MI-8, MI-24/35, MI-35 or SU-34 or SU-25. In each picture, I could imagine the catastrophic event that occurred with the aircraft as the missile or exploding projectile took out the airplane and everyone inside it.
I have mixed feelings while I look at this wreckage.
Yes, enemy aircraft shot down by the good guys. Still, many of these wrecks hold the remains of a human being, the pilot, or in some cases of helicopters shot down, the wreckage contains the bodies of pilot, crew, and passengers. Enemies all.
Not long ago I watched a video of a young Russian soldier captured by Ukrainian forces. No more than a child in his late teens, the boy stood confused and scared to his core, fearful that at any second his captors might murder him. After all, the Russians are murdering noncombatant Ukrainian civilians hiding in their homes. Bombing them. So, why not murder Russian prisoners of war, some of whom may have committed the war crimes?
Righteous warriors do not murder.
We must treat our enemy prisoners with decency. Treat them as we wish that our enemy would treat our own soldiers when captured.
That terrified Russian soldier, a mere boy, now a prisoner by Ukraine forces was conscripted into Vladimir Putin’s army, not his choice but the choice of the despotic ruler who demanded this child’s presence with a rifle on the battlefront. Consider that fact before heaping wrathful vengeance upon this enemy.
Then, a few days ago, I saw a Russian pilot captured. He wore an orange flight pressure suit, typical of equipment worn by pilots flying fast-moving aircraft that draw a lot of Gs during maneuvers.
This fellow knelt, his hands with fingers laced behind his head, also terrified: Now in the hands of Ukrainian captors who could as easily murder him as take him prisoner.
This Russian pilot commanded an echelon of aircraft, like a squadron commander in America’s flying forces. Certainly, he had valuable intelligence his captors might gain, and so did the frightened conscript boy. Killing the man or the boy would be a tactical mistake, human ethics aside.
What I am reminded of while looking at the pictures of smoking aircraft wreckage, and something I was taught by my Marine Corps leaders is that we must respect our enemy.
Yes, we kill them in horrible ways, and he kills our brothers in equally horrible ways, but as warriors we must respect our enemy.
Major Jim Land, one of the founding fathers of the Marine Corps Scout-Sniper program instructed me with a valuable lesson about the idea of warrior ethics. It is a lesson that was doctrine during my active-duty days and still should be doctrine taught to Marine Corps Scout-Snipers and Critical Skills Operators today: We do not kill to punish our enemy, not to gain revenge or achieve retribution for his side’s war crimes. We respect life and do not take a life casually. We are about the mission.
Such emotion-driven attitudes and conduct will corrupt us as warriors.
We cannot be effective to the mission if we are corrupt.
We never know how treating the enemy that we capture with respect will turn out. It may come to nothing, or it could come to something of great value. Reinforcing the hatred of the enemy toward us by treating him with cruelty and abuse can only hurt us in every respect, during the war and afterwards.
Most importantly, we all must kneel before God and face judgment, regardless of whether a person believes in God or not.
We all must account for ourselves.
Furthermore, after war, as we live, as I do, as old men with memories of our better years, we must also live with ourselves and what we did.
When conscience is nearly all that an old warrior has to keep him company, it needs to be a good conscience. Not shame.
So, looking at this wreckage of enemy aircraft, I also see the human beings who were inside them and died because of the ideals and desires for power of the politicians who sent them to war to die or to kill, and in Vladimir Putin’s case, to commit murder of innocent noncombatants.
It is not the dead or captured warriors upon whom we should focus our wrath, but on the man who sent them.
Some 620 years before the time of Christ, the Prophet Daniel was born. When Daniel was a young man 15 to 21 years old, the Babylonian tyrant, King Nebuchadnezzar II, laid siege to the Kingdom of Judah, approximately between 605 and 598/7 BC. The battles lasted about 10 years, approximately until 587 BC, when the Babylonians finally overwhelmed Jerusalem. Judah’s King Jehoiakim died during the siege and his successor, his son Jeconiah (aka Jehoiachin), surrendered Jerusalem and became prisoner of Babylon. The Babylonian horde destroyed Solomon’s Temple, the First Temple of Israel, built around 950 BC, and pillaged all the gold artifacts within the Temple, except the Ark of the Covenant, which mysteriously disappeared.
Unsolved to this day, some historical data points to King Jeconiah selecting the most loyal and faithful to God of his warriors among the Levites (traditionally the priests of the Temple, chosen by God from the family of Levi), and sending them away with the Ark of the Covenant, to hide it from the Babylonians. One of the stories tells that these loyal soldiers took the Ark to Ethiopia and hid it in a secret tomb in the highlands, where a society of the heirs of the Levites keep it hidden to this day; its location known only to a select few, passed father to son, from generation to generation.
Many Ethiopian Christians claim that the Ark of the Covenant came to the small town of Aksum, in Ethiopia’s northern highlands, 3,000 years ago, and remains vaulted safely there, beneath stone over which a chapel stands today.
Now a man approximately 33 years old, (the same age of Jesus when He was crucified), Daniel became a slave to King Nebuchadnezzar II, who took more than 10,000 of the principal citizens of Jerusalem captive, along with Judah’s King Jeconiah, and marched them to Babylon as his slaves. (See 2 Kings 24 and 25)
Nebuchadnezzar assigned Daniel, who was a noble among the Jewish people, and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah to study the Chaldean language (a common language of Babylonia, from the region known as Chaldea, which was an ancient country in the marshy region of southeastern Mesopotamia, which lay between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, today Iraq and the area around Baghdad). Because the names were Hebrew, Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the names be changed to Chaldean. Thus, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego, their names commonly known today.
In the first three chapters of the Book of Daniel, we see Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego thrown into the fiery furnace, because they would not deny God and bow down to the king, who regarded himself a god. And how the Angel of God stood in the fire with them, and God did not allow them to burn. Then the Book of Daniel continues with Daniel’s visions that foretold the fate of King Nebuchadnezzar, his going mad, being cast into chains in a dungeon and dying in 562 BC.
When Nebuchadnezzar went mad, King Belshazzar of Babylon replaced him. Not nearly the tyrant that his predecessor had been, Belshazzar valued the wisdom of Daniel, and held him in great esteem.
During the first year of Belshazzar’s rein, Daniel beheld in a dream his prophetic vision of The Four Beasts, which depicts the End of the Age and the Coming of the Lord. What Danial saw in his prophecy (the interpretation of his vision or dream) compares remarkably well with the prophecies contained in the New Testament, Book of Revelation.
We read of the wicked ruling of the kings, depicted by the beasts, and the lordship of Earth by Satan, depicted by the fourth beast with ten horns and then the great horn with eyes and that spoke “arrogant words.” Then we have the coming of who Daniel called, “the son of man,” which is the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah, who in Daniel’s vision delivers the holy ones from evil and defeats the beast.
It is interesting that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, also referred to Himself as the Son of Man, consistent with Daniel’s prophecy. Jesus, as one of the Three Persons of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) became human flesh or the Son of Man through His miraculous human birth from His mother, Mary, a virgin.
Also consider the beloved disciple of Christ, John, son of Zebedee, who as an apostle of Christ near the end of his life recorded the Revelation that Jesus Christ showed to him, now the prophetic final Book of the New Testament, Revelation. Interestingly, all the books of the New Testament are regarded as didactic (history and teaching) except for Revelation, considered an apocalyptic prophesy.
The Apostle John was a man who Jesus named with John’s brother, James (see Mark 3:17), Boanerges, Hebrew that translates in English, “Sons of Thunder.” Christ called James and John this inspiring nickname because they were rough-hewn, salt of the earth, rugged men whose love, conviction, faith in and loyalty to Christ was unshakable and fierce.
They were fishermen alongside Simon, who Jesus called by his Roman name, Peter, and his brother Andrew, both great disciples of Christ and His apostles after the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came as the Helper who Jesus said would take His place on Earth, after Christ ascended to Heaven and now sits at the right side of the Father, holding all power over Heaven and Earth. One God in three Persons.
The Apostle John was the last of Christ’s disciples to die. More than 70 years after Jesus had suffered crucifixion, death and risen, alive again, on the third day, on Sunday, the first day of the week, as foretold of the Messiah. Then Jesus remained on Earth for about 40 days, which He spent with His disciples, charging them with what they must now do to carry out His plan, and what lay ahead for each of them–hardship, persecution, and terrible deaths.
When Christ came to John with His Revelation, this, the last living disciple of Jesus, now a very old man, toiled in a stone quarry, a prisoner of Rome on the Island of Patmos. His life was a miserable and hard existence of constant labor, horrible food, and terrible living conditions. Yet John, still a Son of Thunder, did not waiver in his love for Jesus nor in his unshakable faith in Him.
And in that awful place, Christ came to John and showed him His vision, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which told all believers in Jesus from then until the final day of this world, the prophecy of what will come. The End of the Age and the Return of the Lord.
Consider that John was not an educated man, except for his basic Hebrew schooling. He and his brother, James, alongside their father, Zebedee, and often with Simon (Peter) and Andrew were fishermen. Not much different than commercial fishermen today: Men who face a harsh life filled with hard work. Salt of the earth, Jesus said of them in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapters 5 through 7).
John had no access to libraries or any kind of reference resources. Raised as Jewish boys and men, they knew of God only in simple terms. They knew what they heard the Rabbi tell them at the Temple, when they went, when they were not toiling away in a fishing boat, except on Sabbath. And sometimes they even cheated a bit, when times were lean and fishing was poor, fishing on the Sabbath or the night before when they were supposed to be indoors, at home.
Yet when we read the Book of Revelation, we see the consistency and strong parallels of the prophecies in Revelation with the prophecies of Daniel, especially in the 7th chapter of the Book of Daniel. Also, in the prophecy that Daniel told of the Seventy Weeks of Years and the Seventieth Week of Years, which the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 30:7) called, the time of Jacob’s trouble (distress). The reference to Jacob means Israel, since God named Jacob, Israel, father of the twelve tribes that comprise the Jewish nation.
Consider now what we see today. What is happening around us. Do we see the buds on the trees, as Jesus described the coming of the End of the Age, and know that springtime is near?
The kings of this world are denying God. People are falling away, as foretold.
Christianity no longer holds a place of respect among popular culture. In fact, popular, politically correct society condemns Christian faith and Christian values as archaic, led by ignorance, and often misogynist and homophobic. More and more we see Christians persecuted and murdered in the streets, such as we saw ISIS and Al-Qaeda executing Christians in Kabul as American presence departed. The kings of the world embrace evil and condemn Christ.
Jesus told of what we see happening in our world today nearly 2,000 years ago, as He walked with His disciples past the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and as He said to His disciples and others later as they sat on the Mount of Olives and Christ told them of the signs of the times and the End of the Age in Matthew 24:
1Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age
3Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
The Great Tribulation
15“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16“then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
23“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you beforehand.
26“Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
The Coming of the Son of Man
29“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The Parable of the Fig Tree
32“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! 34Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
No One Knows the Day or Hour
36“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect….”
Jesus continues His preview of the End of the Age in Matthew 25, with His parable of the ten virgins, five of them wise and five of them foolish. The five wise virgins took vessels of oil with them when they went out to meet their bridegroom. The foolish ones took no oil. The bridegroom was delayed until after midnight. The wise virgins trimmed their wicks and had their lamps lit while the foolish virgins had their lamps go out because they had not prepared. The foolish virgins had to go for more oil while the bridegroom came. He took the five wise virgins into the wedding with him, and the door was shut.
The foolish virgins returned and cried out, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” However, he answered to the foolish virgins shut outside, “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.”
Jesus tells us, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming….”
Christ underscores this parable with another, The Parable of the Talents. A man traveling to a far country called his own servants and delivered his goods to them, while he would be gone. To one, he gave five talents and to another he gave two, and another he gave one talent, each according to his own ability. Then he immediately went on his journey.
After a long time, the lord of the servants returned and settled accounts with them. The one with five talents returned with five additional talents. He showed his lord what he had gained, and his lord was pleased.
The master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”
The servant with two talents likewise returned to his lord and showed him that in addition to the two talents he had also gained two more talents.
Like the servant with five talents, the lord was pleased in his servant and said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”
The Scripture in Matthew 25, beginning with verse 24 reads:
24“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
26“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
God blesses each of us with talents, blessings, abilities that we must use to serve Him, to glorify God. He made humanity for His purposes and for His glory. We are not talking about material wealth but Spiritual wealth. Spiritual talents and abilities given to us for God’s purposes. For us to not use them, develop them and make them flower is to do what the servant who hid his one talent did. Not serve the Lord’s purposes.
This becomes vividly important as Christ continues.
Jesus concludes His telling of what will come at the End of the Age and what we as His believers should be doing in the Scripture beginning with Matthew 25, verses 31 through 46:
The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations
31“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Jesus vividly tells us of what will come and gives us every precaution and direction. As a father counselling his son before his son departs the home to pursue his life as a man, Christ cannot be more complete and more revealing in His words to us. We are His children, children of God, and He loves us just as we love our own children, and even more than we love our own children or our own lives. Our Lord cannot be clearer to us!
Christ could be that person standing on the corner, needing you to stop and talk to him or her. Needing a friend. Needing comfort. Needing you to love him.
God blessed us with those Spiritual talents that come from not only our hearts, but from the Spirit of the Lord Himself. All of them surrounded in God’s great and unyielding love.
Our Spiritual talents do not make us rich on Earth, but enrich us with our Creator, our Lord, our Savior, our most devoted Friend.
Thus, we come back to the vision of Daniel and The Four Beasts, and to the Revelation of Jesus Christ to John, His devoted and greatly beloved apostle on the island of Patmos, laboring as a prisoner of Rome, and the direct parallels that underscore the prophecies told by Christ.
Then even more profoundly, we read these very same prophesied warnings from Daniel nearly 600 years before the coming of the Messiah, telling of the coming of “The Son of Man,” to which Jesus Himself refers as He cautions us and teaches us of what will come. And how we must prepare for Him.
The messages told over and over and over again, not just by Daniel, but by the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah and many others give us the very same instructions and warnings.
I close this commentary with the vision that Daniel experienced nearly 3,000 years ago and is repeated to us by prophets and disciples and apostles and by God Himself to us in the Person of Jesus Christ.
I believe that the End of the Age is at hand. It can come at any time. Today, tomorrow, a year from now, ten years or more from now. Only the Father knows, and He didn’t even let Jesus in on His secret. But nonetheless, we need to be ready for Christ when He comes, just as He tells us that He will come.
It will not be some guy on television or some celebrity. There will be no parades or sold-out football stadiums filled with music, entertainment, and baskets of money. Christ will come just as He departed. From above.
As the lightning flashes in the east and thunders in the west, so will be the coming of the Lord. His angels will take up “His elect” (believers in Christ) and the rest of the world will mourn.
While Daniel’s vision frightened him terribly, as he writes in the Scripture, and what he describes of his vision is certainly terrifying indeed, the lost people who Christ leaves behind will sadly face far worse.
I leave you with what the ancient prophet says in Daniel, chapter 7:
CHAPTER 7—DANIEL’S VISION OF THE FOUR BEASTS
1In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream with visions in his mind as he was lying in his bed. He wrote down the dream, and here is the summary of his account. 2Daniel said, “In my vision at night I was watching, and suddenly the four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea. 3Four huge beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.
4“The first was like a lion but had eagle’s wings. I continued watching until its wings were torn off. It was lifted up from the ground, set on its feet like a man, and given a human mind.
5“Suddenly, another beast appeared, a second one, that looked like a bear. It was raised up on one side, with three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up! Gorge yourself on flesh.’
6“After this, while I was watching, suddenly another beast appeared. It was like a leopard with four wings of a bird on its back. It had four heads, and it was given dominion.
7“After this, while I was watching in the night visions, suddenly a fourth beast appeared, frightening and dreadful, and incredibly strong, with large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and it trampled with its feet whatever was left. It was different from all the beasts before it, and it had ten horns.
8“While I was considering the horns, suddenly another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. And suddenly in this horn there were eyes like the eyes of a human and a mouth that was speaking arrogantly.
THE ANCIENT OF DAYS AND THE SON OF MAN
9“As I kept watching,
thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was white like snow,
and the hair of his head like whitest wool.
His throne was flaming fire;
its wheels were blazing fire.
10A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from his presence.
Thousands upon thousands served him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was convened,
and the books were opened.
11“I watched, then, because of the sound of the arrogant words the horn was speaking. As I continued watching, the beast was killed and its body destroyed and given over to the burning fire. 12As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was removed, but an extension of life was granted to them for a certain period of time. 13I continued watching in the night visions,
and suddenly one like a son of man
was coming with the clouds of heaven.
He approached the Ancient of Days
and was escorted before him.
14He was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
so that those of every people,
nation, and language
should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that will not pass away,
and his kingdom is one
that will not be destroyed.
INTERPRETATION OF THE VISION
15“As for me, Daniel, my spirit was deeply distressed within me, and the visions in my mind terrified me. 16I approached one of those who were standing by and asked him to clarify all this. So he let me know the interpretation of these things: 17‘These huge beasts, four in number, are four kings who will rise from the earth. 18But the holy ones of the Most High will receive the kingdom and possess it forever, yes, forever and ever.’
19 “Then I wanted to be clear about the fourth beast, the one different from all the others, extremely terrifying, with iron teeth and bronze claws, devouring, crushing, and trampling with its feet whatever was left. 20I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three fell—the horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spoke arrogantly, and that looked bigger than the others. 21As I was watching, this horn waged war against the holy ones and was prevailing over them 22until the Ancient of Days arrived and a judgment was given in favor of the holy ones of the Most High, for the time had come, and the holy ones took possession of the kingdom.
23“This is what he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, different from all the other kingdoms. It will devour the whole earth, trample it down, and crush it. 24The ten horns are ten kings who will rise from this kingdom. Another king, different from the previous ones, will rise after them and subdue three kings. 25He will speak words against the Most High and oppress the holy ones of the Most High. He will intend to change religious festivals and laws, and the holy ones will be handed over to him for a time, times, and half a time. 26But the court will convene, and his dominion will be taken away, to be completely destroyed forever. 27The kingdom, dominion, and greatness of the kingdoms under all of heaven will be given to the people, the holy ones of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will serve and obey him.’
28“This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts terrified me greatly, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”
Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (Da 7:1–28). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Today, I watched in horror and agony as thousands swarmed the Kabul airport hopelessly trying to escape the wrath of the Taliban with their bare-rock tyranny and unbridled cruelty that lies ahead for all Afghan people who did not side with the Muslim extremist rulers. My stomach twisted as I saw Afghan people clinging to the wheel wells of a US Air Force C17 transport aircraft as it taxied to the runway and took off. What happened to those who helplessly clung to the wheel wells and any other surface of the aircraft’s exterior where they could take a handhold?
President Joe Biden denies that this is another American war won by US Warriors but lost by America’s political leaders who lacked the fortitude nor the will to arm and equip the Afghan people and transition to their own defense. A process that takes years and cannot be done in a matter of a few months. It is just like the way that the United States Congress tied the hands of the President and quit and ran from Viet Nam in 1975.
President Gerald R. Ford told me in 1994, when I spent time with him in New York, working on my book, Goodnight Saigon, (Berkley Books, Penguin-Random House, 2005, New York, NY) that the fall of Saigon was the most tragic day of his life. He said, “It was terrible to be President of the United States and sit and watch as America quit and ran.”
No, America should not have gotten ensnared in Afghanistan, just as they should not have gotten ensnared in Viet Nam. Not with the weakness of a Congress of men and women who have no idea of the cost of war, and the horrors that the innocent people caught in the jaws of that war suffer.
When we see our beloved brothers in arms die at our sides; when we see the innocent people caught in that war suffer and get maimed and killed, collateral damage sloughed off no better than flotsam and jetsam in the wake of a war waged by cowards and prosecuted by the valiant who believe their rhetoric, it brands the memories with a hot iron of we who were there to see these things while we fought the war and endure it.
We veterans keep saying, “Never again.” But the fools in Congress and the White House keep doing it. We keep warning that the cost of going to war is not in money but in blood, and not just an enemy’s blood but the blood of the innocent and blood of the loyal. Yet those cautions go ignored when the politicians have a political status to keep, and votes to get.
For those narcissistic wastes of skin who sit in high office, basking in their self-aggrandizing glory, human life and human misery do not affect their souls, because they have no souls.
A nation cannot go to war and still go shopping at the mall, as if there is no war. Going to war means total commitment by the nation, not just the warriors that the nation treats like disposable hired help who matter for nothing. All of the people of the nation that goes to war must put themselves into the effort, share the bleeding. That is, if they desire to win it.
The last war where America totally committed to war was World War II. Every conflict, every military action in which America has stuck its big toe in the water, since World War II has failed.
President George W. Bush should have listened to his father, who warned him sternly against getting America entangled in the nation building that takes place after America quashes an enemy. He should have pounded Afghanistan into submission for the crime that they helped Osama bin Laden and his zealots commit, but instead of remaining in the country, nation building, winning the hearts and minds of the populous, he should have just left them to their misery and the Taliban to continue governing. If the Taliban hosted more terrorists, bomb them again and again and again.
That’s why President George H. W. Bush left the boss thug in charge in Iraq when America blew his armies back to Baghdad when they invaded Kuwait. No nation building. And President father warned President son to leave Iraq alone.
But son did not listen to the wisdom of his father.
Thus, with the ouster of Saddam Hussain, radical zealot armies like ISIS emerged.
Once the blood bath in Kabul ends, as the Taliban exercises its wrath on all those who supported the Americans, filling the gutters with blood, I fully expect to see Afghanistan rise up as the Phoenix of Islamic terror, home base for ISIS and others who live to kill Americans and destroy the Christian nations and the Christians wherever they exist.
Yes, America should have departed Afghanistan long ago, but with an exit strategy that gave the people at least a fighting chance. What President Biden has done is cowardly and cruel. The blood of these people is on him today. It is not just like Viet Nam. No. The North Vietnamese were a nicer bunch.
On this day–PALM SUNDAY–in the approximate year of 32 AD, Jesus of Nazareth rode a donkey colt through a throng of people cheering His arrival in Jerusalem, laying palm fronds on the path, praising Him.
Jesus came here to die for all the sins of humanity, for all time. The Only Begotten Son of God, one of the Three Persons that is our One True God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, had come to fulfill the prophesies that foretold His persecution, unjust prosecution in a mockery of a trial, His death on the cross, not one bone being broken, and His resurrection on the third day, the first Easter Sunday. Since that day, Christians around the world have without fail celebrated the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, just as Christians worldwide will do next Sunday, April 4, 2021.
Christ gave His life in human form to save each of our eternal souls from damnation for our corruption and sin. By doing this, His Grace shields us from the wages of our sins, Jesus taking them on Himself. He saves us by our belief in Him: Our admission of sin and repentance of them, and our declaration of Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, thus for the rest of our lives following Him as we are born again of the Spirit.
Thus Scripture reads in the Gospel of John, chapter 3, Jesus’s dialogue with the Pharisee, Nicodemus, days before He would be tried:
John 3:5-8 (New King James Version)
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Thus on that first Palm Sunday, Jesus stopped on the hills outside Jerusalem, as His disciples went ahead, as prophecy had foretold, to find the donkey colt tied outside a stable, awaiting Him to ride into Jerusalem, Jesus knelt and wept. And He lamented:
Matthew 23:37-39 (New King James Version)
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
That last week of His human-form life, as the Son of Man, Jesus gathered throngs of people, preaching to them and teaching them His Truth. All the while, as He is One with the Father and the Father with Him, knowing all, Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot would betray Him for 30 pieces of silver (believed to be 30 shekels, since it was the preferred silver for offerings at the Temple, nearly pure silver as opposed to the Roman Denarius made of 70 percent silver and other alloys). He would be taken into chains, mocked, tortured, scourged, then unjustly tried and crucified. Jesus knew how horrific, how painful and terrible, His suffering would be in His human body.
On the night of the Passover, when He had led His disciples near the Mount of Olives, Jesus was greatly filled with agony, knowing what would come. So, He stepped away from His disciples and told them to pray that they would not be led into temptation. However, they soon fell asleep.
Alone, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus dropped to His knees and wept as He spoke to the Father.
Beginning in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 22, verse 41 (NKJV), Scripture reads: “…He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
After praying, Jesus returned to His disciples and found them asleep. So, he awakened them. Theses would be His last hours with them before He would be arrested and taken to be crucified.
Jesus’s disciples truly could not grasp the gravity of what was about to happen that night. They knew that our Lord, Jesus was troubled and it troubled them, since He had said that He would soon be gone from them. Yet the idea that they literally lived in the presence of God Himself in the form of human flesh was something far beyond their capacities of understanding.
On that night, before they had gone to the place near the Mount of Olives, where Jesus knew that He would be arrested, they had gathered with Him to eat the Passover meal, Christ’s Last Supper with them. That night as they reclined around the table, Jesus told them how He loved them. And told them that one of them would betray Him too, telling the traitor to hurry and get it done, His disciples oblivious to what He meant, except for Judas.
Jesus said to them that night at the table some of His most profound words of hope, promise and instruction not just for His disciples but for all who believe in Him then and today and tomorrow, until He returns and fulfills the rest of His promises to humanity.
From the Gospel of John, chapter 14 and chapter 15, verses 1 through 17 (Christian Standard Bible) the Scripture reads:
Gospel of John, Chapter 14–
THE WAY TO THE FATHER
1 “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. 4 You know the way to where I am going.”,
5 “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where you’re going. How can we know the way?”
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
JESUS REVEALS THE FATHER
8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time and you do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who lives in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.
PRAYING IN JESUS’S NAME
12 “Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.,
ANOTHER COUNSELOR PROMISED
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you.
THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. 21 The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it you’re going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 The one who doesn’t love me will not keep my words. The word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me.
25 “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
JESUS’S GIFT OF PEACE
27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful. 28 You have heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe. 30 I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me., 31 On the contrary, so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do as the Father commanded me.
“Get up; let’s leave this place.”
From the room where Jesus and His disciples had gathered for the meal, they went out, walking to a place they knew near the Mount of Olives, in the garden called Gethsemane. As they walked, Jesus told them, as Scripture continues:
Gospel of John, Chapter 15–
THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
11 “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
12 “This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master, is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.
17 “This is what I command you: Love one another.”
Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (Jn 14:1–15:17). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
If you are an American, you should watch it. If you are an immigrant, legal or not, you should watch it. And especially, if you are an African American, you absolutely should watch it!
Uncle Tom is the raw, unvarnished, unapologetic TRUTH.
Elder and every person whose voices we hear in this nearly two hours of facts and testimony unashamedly speak the TRUTH. Yes, TRUTH with all capital letters.
As parents, what do you suppose will happen to our children if we raise them under a constant berating of: You’re too stupid. You will never accomplish anything because the cards are stacked against you. You might as well give up because the oppressors will keep you in your place. And the negativity goes on and on.
What kind of person will that child grow up to be? A great success? Doubtful.
Very likely that child will grow into a person not expecting anything of himself, not trying because it is of no use. He might turn to drugs and alcohol to sooth his bereavement of a useless life. Made useless because his parents did not believe in him from the beginning and oppressed him with hopelessness. That child will also likely grow up outraged, bent on vengeance against his envisioned oppressors. That child may take to the streets with his outrage and become violent against everyone who confronts him.
What kind of person will the child grow up to be if his parents praise him? If his father stands tall in his household, beside his mother. And together they teach the child good ethics of working hard and accomplishing goals. They set an example of high values. They teach their son and daughter that accomplishment does not come for free, but requires dedication, effort, persistence, never quitting, and most importantly, those parents reinforce to the child that he or she is not stupid but has a beautiful mind, filled with potential that is capable of wondrous vision and greatness.
What kind of person will that child grow up to be? A beaten dog? A violent, outraged person? A criminal?
Not very likely. More likely, this child surrounded with love and encouragement from his or her parents, despite the ugliness that confronts most, if not all, people of color, will grow into a person who does find success. Success grown from parents who set the example of high standards, high moral values, desire for achievement and education, and belief in God and in him or her self.
In his documentary, Uncle Tom, Larry Elder shows us an array of testimony, good examples of success and well-founded facts and examples that should leave every American furious. Filled with contempt.
Slavery and Jim Crow laws were horrible, and those ugly pages of American history must be remembered. Must be taught to our children so we can raise them better.
But is that America today?
Yes, we have horrible crime and danger in the minority communities of America, not just African American but in Latino, Chinese, Korean Arab, Indian, Native American, and in white impoverished communities too. And what is the common denominator of their despair? Oppression. Much of it made real by the conditions that not just surround them but bury them.
Oppression by whom?
By those who seek to keep these mostly minority people in the ghettos, keep those people ignorant, unread. Keep them not filled with hope but hopelessly angry with their despair.
Hitler learned that if he repeated a lie often enough that the people will believe it as truth. They will join his line of thinking–his narrative.
Here is the lie that we realize while watching Uncle Tom: The oppressive lie is that if you are born from African ancestry, you have no hope. The white man has everything, all the power, and he is keeping you in this place that you hate. And you hate him for it. You have no opportunity because of systemic racism, where people like you are deprived of reaching levels of decision-making power. Positions where you can make change and a difference.
Filled with this outrage, you believe that your only course of action to make change possible is to take to the streets and burn the cities to the ground. Meanwhile, you need to depend on a benevolent, overseeing government who will give you money, take care of your abortions, and perpetuate families with single mothers and lost fathers who live somewhere else.
Uncle Tom shows us how the same people that used Jim Crow laws and slavery to keep Black America deprived of opportunity, deprived of education, deprived of hope, those same people continue to do it today, but with filters and politics and rhetoric that convinces the people that they need the government to take care of their needs, because they have no opportunity to do anything for themselves.
And how is that so much different in this way of life from how your African ancestors lived in slavery?
You will have no Constitutional Freedom if you believe you do not have Constitutional Freedom!
You will simply be angry. Very angry!
I challenge every American and especially Americans with African heritage, and I likewise challenge every Latino and other minority to watch Uncle Tom. From beginning to end.
I promise that you will want to shut off the show. Because these people will contradict nearly everything you believe to be true. And it is NOT.
Watch Uncle Tom to the bitter end. Then sit and stew. Think about it. Think a lot about it. And ask yourself this: Is there anything that Elder or anyone else in this documentary say that is not the bitter, unvarnished, cold truth?
Two things that I realized after watching Uncle Tom are these:
1. Every student in every school in America, every person in America must watch Uncle Tom. Take it to heart, and realize that all of us must do better by each other. All of us!
2. Every student in every school in America, as well as every person in America, should read the biography of Booker T. Washington. Mister Washington shows us how a man born as a slave can rise to greatness. In his life we deplore his suffering as a fellow human being, as a child of God who told all of us to love each other as He loves us. But in his life we also cheer his heroism, his determination against daunting challenges to rise to greatness. Not simply as a former slave, a man of African heritage, but as an American. A great American.
We must do better. We must set up the ladders for our minority American brothers and sisters to climb to the heights, along with everyone else. And we as a society and a government must stop oppressing minorities by convincing them that they are hopelessly mired in oppression, have no hope except to fall in line with slaves behind a government that will provide for all their needs, and encourages their poverty and dispair.
One other thing that I realized after watching Uncle Tom: The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, if he lived today, given his values and his great faith, would likely get branded an Uncle Tom. Because he too believed that Black America needed equal rights, equal access and all the Constitutional Guarantees that every citizen of the USA is given. Opportunity to obtain a good education. Opportunity to pursue his or her dreams and realize them by his or her own hard work. Opportunity to achieve success in life.
I know that my left-bank friends will greatly criticize me for the stand that I take. It flies in the face of much of what they believe is true. How can I know anything about this subject, I am not Black?
No, I am not Black. I can never know what that life feels like. I can only try to help and not stand in the way.
But I do know this: Facts are Facts. Truth is Truth. Like them or not, Truth and Facts are Truth and Facts.
It is the liars and cheats and corrupt villains in our world who will try to convince you otherwise.
Don’t believe me. But watch Uncle Tom. It will make you angry, but it will also give you hope.
God bless Larry Elder for making this documentary, Uncle Tom. It is a beacon of light, and the darkness of oppression and hate cannot hide from the Truth that it shows us.
While India may today celebrate its so-called “democracy,” according to its own definition of modern India’s “democratic” government, it sags heavily with socialist tyranny. Such as controlling the press, ensuring that the narrative supports the government’s agenda, and that controlled narrative is the only perspective of India’s government that the people see and hear.
Not a lot different than the controls on media enforced by communist states such as the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or as the Russian Federation continues currently with authorized media vehicles like Russia Today. India’s controlled political narrative is as communist China and North Korea likewise do today.
After all, the first victim of tyranny is free speech. This includes a free press and the people’s freedom to peacefully assemble and express dissent against their governments.
Today, in America, we see an increased and often casually overt effort by the ruling powers of government to likewise control, if not popularize the narrative by stifling voices of dissent. This repression of dissent finds blind and willing collusion among the so-called American free press that today appears to voluntarily help control the narrative, spinning a version of truth that supports the ruling political power’s agenda.
To voice words of criticism of policy or political ideals of the ruling power, to disagree with any perspective, or to express dissent against the system today, that person who fails to see the world as the narrative says we should see it finds himself or herself branded despicable, deplorable, labeled with insults such as bully, Nazi, bigot, racist, domestic terrorist and worse. All for simply uttering dissent against those in power who now control the public agenda and narrative.
For example, the Biden Administration ordered an investigation of Major Andrew Calvert, an Army chaplain with the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, after he made a dissenting comment critical of a change in Defense Department policy on the Army Times’ Facebook page. The chaplain suggested that someone who is transgender is mentally unfit for military service, responding to an Army Times article about President Joe Biden’s executive order to drop the ban against allowing transgender people to openly serve in the military.
Major Calvert wrote, “How is rejecting reality not evidence that a person is mentally unfit, and thus making that person unqualified to serve? There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a ‘flat earth,’ despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The motivation is different, but the argument is the same. This person is a Med-Board for Mental Wellness waiting to happen. What a waste of military resources and funding!”
Bear in mind that Chaplain Calvert did not direct his word at any person, but at a policy change directed by President Biden.
Major Jefferson Grimes, Public Affairs Officer for the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade issued the following statement after Chaplain Calvert’s post on the Army Times Facebook page stirred attention from on high: “Major Calvert’s social media post on the Army Times Facebook page is currently under investigation. We support the Commander in Chief, Secretary of Defense and all DoD policies and directives.”
Grimes added, “We are soldiers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that means always treating others with dignity and respect. This includes online communication. We direct our soldiers to Think, Type, Post when engaging in conversations on social media platforms and to follow DoD policies and regulations. When our online conduct does not follow these rules and regulations, we investigate and hold individuals accountable if they are found to be in violation.”
What is damning about the official government statement made by Major Grimes is that everything that a soldier says on social media must follow the government’s rules and regulations, and “when our online conduct does not follow these rules and regulations, we investigate and hold individuals accountable if they are found to be in violation.”
While all people in military service fall under rules of good order and discipline, those rules do not void a person in military service from retaining his or her rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. Military people must follow Lawful Orders, however, prohibiting Free Speech and Expression of Dissent when speaking as a private person, not speaking for an agency of the government, violates the First Amendment. No different than the government prohibiting that person from his or her free exercises of religious freedom, such as personal expressions of religious faith and exercises of prayer and worship.
This is not to confuse free speech and expressions of dissent with vulgarness, rudeness, insubordination or insults, nor of acts of violence or mutiny. Just as the Constitution provides for Free Speech, it likewise requires that freedom to gather and dissent to be peaceful and orderly. The right to free speech is not a right to riot or stand on the public square and shout profanity and obscenity.
Consider that all branches of the United States military services have privately operated foundations and affiliated organizations not part of the government or military command that publish journals and magazines aimed at audiences that include both leadership and rank and file service members. Active duty, reserve and retired officers and enlisted men and women, along with many civilians who have military interests, regularly author essays, articles and even commentary that is critical of military policy as well as critical of strategy and tactics and leadership. The Marines have Marine Corps Gazette and Leatherneck magazines, published by the Marine Corps Association and Historical Foundation. They encourage dissent and criticism of policy, strategy and tactics. Because quite often from criticism comes improvement.
In fact, Marines are noted for their freely expressed honest words that criticize or bring ideas to debate and greater critical examination.
In the past, numerous articles that were not only critical of policy but controversial in position were published and read by the highest among leaders as well as the broad base of Marines. Topics such as women serving in combat or in combat arms occupations addressed all sides of criticism as well as advocacy. A sharp contrast with today’s investigation of a Fort Hood chaplain who criticized a popular progressive left agenda carried out by executive order. He dared to express a dissenting opinion of a policy that could well disrupt the good order and discipline among the front-line combat organizations and affect the outcome of missions.
Another example of the government controlling the narrative and violating constitutional free speech appeared in the Denver Post on January 8, 2021, when University of Colorado at Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano chastised constitutional scholar, Professor John Eastman, for “spreading conspiracy theories about election fraud,” but, at that time, held short of firing the former Chapman University law professor.
Eastman teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder campus as a visiting scholar from Colorado’s Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization.
Professor John Eastman is not merely a constitutional scholar but a constitutional nerd who has spent his adult life as a scholar studying the Constitution and its legal and social impacts on the history of the United States. He is an outspoken conservative among a sea of avowed progressive liberals at the University of Colorado, Boulder. And he has a history of expressing his conservative perspective publicly and addressing it to large audiences that include appearing on national media.
However, following months of emotionally charged complaints, campus protests and boycotts of Professor Eastman among the largely progressive-left student body and faculty, then exacerbated by a controversial constitutional essay published in Newsweek magazine in August and further inflamed by Eastman’s pro-Trump words and appearance at the Trump rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC on January 6, the University of Colorado leadership finally banned Professor Eastman after cancelling all of his classes on January 13, 2021.
University leaders cited that no one on campus had enrolled in any of Eastman’s classes, therefore, they cancelled them. However, a week later, Chancellor DiStefano announced that the University of Colorado, Boulder had banned John Eastman from performing any outreach (public speaking) or speaking anywhere at the University for the duration of his association with the institution. Only recently, prior to his virtual firing, Professor Chapman officially resigned his tenured faculty position as a law professor at Chapman University, which would allow him to officially join the University of Colorado faculty.
On January 21 Andrew Sorensen, a University of Colorado, Boulder spokesman, issued this statement: “The University of Colorado Boulder relieved John Eastman of duties related to outreach and speaking as a representative of the Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization. University officials determined Eastman’s continued pursuit of these duties would likely be disruptive and damage the interests of the campus and the Benson Center.”
While technically retaining Eastman on faculty at the Benson Center, the university leadership has formally silenced Professor Eastman. His narrative sharply disagrees with the university’s own narrative and agenda. So much for free speech and freedom of diverse thought at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Since the university, as a state-owned public institution, is a branch of the State of Colorado government, it represents a government action that silences a voice that often criticizes politically left ideals, because his dissent and critical commentary disagrees with the progressive left agenda. The government shut up Professor John Eastman to control the left-dominant university narrative, citing his words as damaging and “disruptive.”
It does not matter if the majority of students at the University of Colorado disagree with Eastman’s politics or ideals of Constitutional Law, the professor still has the right, protected by the First Amendment, to freely express his opinion in the public forum, such as he expressed in Newsweek magazine or at a Republican rally in Colorado or the one on January 6 at the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Eastman’s very presence on the Boulder campus immediately raised progressive left hackles. He is a person who voices strong conservative views, citing the United States Constitution as the superior law of the nation, and as Justice Antonin Scalia had held, Eastman agrees that “It says what it says, and does not say what it does not say.” However, the University of Colorado, Boulder is not a welcoming place for anyone who does not subscribe to the progressive left world view. Thus, in a sea of gasoline, he represented a thimble full of nitroglycerine and a match.
Igniting the first firestorm of campus controversy, Professor Eastman wrote an essay published on August 12, 2020 in Newsweek magazine. The constitutional scholar questioned whether vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris was eligible to serve as Vice President because her parents were not born in the United States. In the essay, Eastman based his argument on the fact that while Harris was born in the United States, her parents resided in the United States on visas. Eastman questioned whether Harris’ parents were lawful permanent residents at the time of her birth, or were they merely temporary visitors?
The constitutional argument addressed at Harris stems from the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that states, “…all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.”
The question raised by Eastman and other constitutional scholars and lawyers alike, asks if this 14th Amendment clause includes visitors who are not residents of the United States and others who live in the United States illegally? The United States Supreme Court has not addressed this question, nor has it issued any clarifying opinions. Thus, the debate continues.
After a wave of highly vocal outcries against the opinion essay written by Eastman, on August 14, Newsweek editors, trying to divest themselves from the article published two days prior, apologized for publishing Eastman’s opinion, and said:
“This op-ed is being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia. We apologize. The essay, by John Eastman, was intended to explore a minority legal argument about the definition of who is a “natural-born citizen” in the United States. But to many readers, the essay inevitably conveyed the ugly message that Senator Kamala Harris, a woman of color and the child of immigrants, was somehow not truly American.”
Newsweek editors did not say that Professor Eastman had expressed any racist or xenophobic views but had addressed the question of citizenship of a child born in the United States of parents who are not citizens but reside in the United States as visitors or as illegal immigrants. However, the inflammatory words, Racist and Xenophobe had now surfaced. Thus, Professor Eastman automatically received the racist and xenophobe brand too.
This despite the fact that Professor Eastman’s opposing editorial opinion had addressed the question of citizenship based on matters of legal argument. A debate that continues today and will likely finally find argument before the United States Supreme Court for resolution. However, to suggest that perhaps vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a woman of color and daughter of immigrant parents, might not qualify as Vice President, to the progressive left represented racist bigotry and xenophobia. How dare he even raise the question?
On August 24, 2020, an article published in The Denver Post described the upheaval stirred on the Boulder campus resulting from the published article that brought outcries against Professor Eastman. They accused him of floating a conspiracy theory akin to the so-called, “Birther” accusations leveled against President Barak Obama by then presidential candidate Donald Trump and many other strong-right leaning conservatives.
Chancellor DiStefano wrote in a faculty memorandum distributed by email that Monday (August 17) following the Newsweek publication of Eastman’s essay, “Even if he did not intend it, Professor Eastman’s op-ed has marginalized members of our CU Boulder community and sown doubts in our commitment to anti-racism, diversity, equality and inclusion.”
In fact, Newsweek even said that Eastman did not express racist or xenophobic views, but that his op-ed essay was being used as a tool by some to perpetuate racism and xenophobia.
Interestingly, the Newsweek opinion essay credits did not cite Professor Eastman’s association with the University of Colorado, Boulder nor with Colorado’s Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization, but cited his credentials as “Professor of Law, Chapman University and Senior Fellow, Claremont Institute.”
One must wonder how the publication of Eastman’s essay in Newsweek sullied the reputation of the University of Colorado when it nor the Benson Center do not have mention in the article or in Eastman’s credentials or professional citations. Thus, one must conclude that the University of Colorado used the admonition to try and gag Eastman from publicly expressing his opinions which do not support the university’s political tilt. A preemptive step to silence his dissent.
Citing Professor Eastman’s right to free speech, Chancellor DiStefano wrote: “Without minimizing those harms, and recognizing that we must repair that trust, I must speak to those who have asked whether I will rescind Professor Eastman’s appointment or silence him. I will not, for doing so would falsely feed a narrative that our university suppresses speech it does not like and would undermine the principles of freedom of expression and academic freedom that make it possible for us to fulfill our mission.”
However, the actions against Professor Eastman stand in stark contradiction to Chancellor DiStefano’s statement. Judging from the matters of fact and historical record, it appears that the University of Colorado, Boulder does suppress speech that it does not like, thus undermining (utterly quashing) the principles of freedom of expression and academic freedom. The Chancellor’s words clearly do not align with the university’s actions against Professor Eastman, which stand testament to the University of Colorado’s suppression of free speech and academic freedom.
As to Professor Eastman’s response after reading Chancellor DiStefano’s email, in which the Chancellor had said that Eastman’s argument for Ms. Harris’ potential ineligibility did not align with the Constitution, Eastman said that it seemed to him that perhaps Chancellor DiStefano has never read the original debates about the Constitution’s citizenship clause.
Professor Eastman commented to The Denver Post, when interviewed about the controversy, spurring the CU Buffalo even harder, “That seems to me to be an admission that he (DiStefano) has not read the original materials himself, nor the significant amount of scholarship that has come to the same conclusion (that) I have. Pity. He might have learned that there is a serious constitutional dispute here, one that remains unresolved by the Supreme Court.”
Then on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the day that thousands of conservative protesters gathered on The National Mall in Washington, DC, the same day that some of the people in the protest moved on the United States Capitol, broke across barriers and violently laid siege to the Capitol Building and Halls of Congress, Professor Eastman spoke at a rally in support of President Donald Trump on the National Mall. In Eastman’s remarks, he alleged that there was widespread voter fraud in the November 3, 2020 election and in the January 5, 2021 runoff election in Georgia. Millions of people who voted for President Trump share this viewpoint.
Following the protests and riot in Washington, DC, Chancellor DiStefano again criticized Professor Eastman for his public statements but stopped short of firing Eastman for his remarks: Expressions that the majority of students and faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder regarded as advocating conspiracy theories. They demanded that the Chancellor fire Eastman for his inflammatory public statements.
Even though not firing Eastman at that time but later virtually firing him by silencing his voice on or off campus, Chancellor DiStefano spoke harshly against the conservative Constitutional scholar and said, “His (Eastman’s) continued advocacy of conspiracy theories is repugnant, and he will bear the shame of his role in undermining confidence in the rule of law.”
These two instances serve as examples of the government Controlling the Narrative to support the ideals of the ruling agenda. If anyone raises a voice or publishes words against them, they punish and ridicule those voices of dissent.
In India, police shot and killed a protester who spoke in dissent of the government while on the same day the government celebrated its “democracy.” The Indian media published the official statement that the protester, twenty-five-year-old farmer, Navreet Singh, had died during the protest because of a so-called, “tractor accident.”
Tyrants and dictators control the narrative and quash dissent, either with a bullet shot from a policeman’s gun or by gagging the outspoken voice while he or she suffers through powerful ridicule and shame hurled by the minions of that tyrant who sit in positions of power and control the public narrative with it, serving the national agenda.
For tyrants, the press is the handmaiden of government. Free speech represents the narrative supporting the agenda that they control.
Today, I read an article about how Nike, Coca Cola, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Apple, Adidas, The North Face, Abercrombie, GAP, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Land Rover, General Motors and several other worldwide corporations with strong China manufacturing ties make a big public show of how they deplore all forms of racism and discrimination, pitching millions into the PR effort, but behind corporate doors are not shy about exploiting forced labor of slaves in China, most notably the enslaved Uighur Muslims of northwest China, a heavily oppressed racial minority of Turkic people.
For many of us, this news is not at all surprising. It is the stock and trade of the “limousine liberal” progressive left elitists. They have lots of money, and want to put on a good face to the flotsam and jetsam of common working people who spend their hard-earned dollars in support these villians’ markets and profits. So, they make a public and highly hypocritical showing of their tender hearts for the plight of oppressed people, and throw money and promises at the causes. But in truth, their hearts are very dark indeed.
Black lives really do matter, in my opinion. So do cop lives and all other walks of society. As do Latino lives matter as well, and the plight of these and other struggling people who seek to feed their families and at least have what America’s Constitution and Declaration of Independence states, and promises. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” (happiness meaning that you have your basic human needs met of hearth, home, food and family security). God created all of His children (humanity) equally in His eyes and in His love.
Yet, these progressive left elitists speak with “forked tongues,” much like the prominent Southern Cheyenne chieftain, Black Kettle, said of the American government, after seeing the “great white father” break the Pine Lodge Treaty–broken as a matter of expedience for the way west, the rail roads and other profit motives of the puppet-string pullers.
While talking publicly out of the left side of their mouths, saying how everyone needs to open all the doors for all people, especially those who suffer discrimination (true indeed), yet from the other side of their mouths they probably whisper among their boards of directors, “we need the slave labor of China to ensure that our profits increase while we fleece American consumers and other world markets by charging the people with few competitive options more money for increasingly inferior goods and delivering less and less.”
They have taken out all the screws that they can eliminate and trimmed off all the engineered support parts of their products, resulting in poorer quality but another penny or two in profit. However, their biggest profit gains come from not paying for labor, skilled labor. Skills cost dollars, and workers with greater manufacturing skills bring home more dollars per hour. So the companies close their American factories and go offshore where poor, desperate people, including children, will work for pennies instead of dollars. Skills matter less too, because if the product lasts past its flimsy warranty, that they make purposefully difficult for consumers to use when needed, then that is all that matters. In fact, it is good. The consumer has to buy a new one.
So, these companies not only use slave labor in China, maximizing profits like ancient Egyptians, but they also lobby Congress to keep the slave labor operating and fulfilling their American market needs. Yes!
These are the friends and supporters of the Joe Biden Administration–heavily supporting China. Congress even passed a bill in the House of Representatives that would prohibit the purchase of any goods to sell on the American market if those goods were manufactured by Chinese slaves, like the Turkic Muslims of Northwest China, the Uighur people. Downtrodden souls enduring endless “re-education,” working as slaves in forced labor camps turning out goods for American brands. However, the guilty parties–at last count, 83 major corporations with dirty hands using slave labor to spin out the parts for assembly plants elsewhere, or making shoes, shirts, trousers and other similar goods–put up big bucks in political candidate campaigns to kill the bill. A bill that had passed the United States House of Representatives with only 6 nay votes.
Bottom line–Money is Power.
And while we talk of Slave Labor, let us not forget America’s own version of Slave Labor: The poor people from Latin America who risk their lives to slip into los Estados Unidos (the United States) just to make a living and feed their starving families. Because they do not have legal status in the USA, they must work under the covers of secrecy and subterfuge. False documents and phony identifications that enable them to work and get paid something, usually cash with no benefits. And what do they get paid? Not nearly what the employer might report.
For example, I went to a temporary labor agency in Colorado Springs not that many years ago seeking two laborers to perform cleanup and barn repairs for me. The two men came to my home, neither of them speaking English, so I thankfully spoke enough Spanish to get the job done. During our work, for which I thought I was paying each man $14 dollars an hour, I discovered that each man actually received a little less than $6 dollars an hour, and they were glad to get it.
Yes, the temporary labor service does collect a fee for connecting me with the laborers. It should be no more than a couple of dollars, though. So, I asked the men if they received a pay stub that showed their deductions, such as FICA, Social Security and Medicare. But the truth was ugly.
Both men got paid cash at day’s end when they checked out of work for the day at the service. They got a little less than $6 dollars an hour, for which I paid $14 dollars an hour, and they got no explanation of deductions.
Neither man had a social security number, nor even knew what or where to get one. One man’s wife had an American drivers license, and she drove them out here to work at my place in the country and then drove them home again at days end. A 45 minute drive each direction in an old car that did not get good gas mileage. So, fuel costs were another deduction from their daily earnings.
Learning the truth they innocently told to me, I telephoned the temporary labor service, to whom I had given a check in advance, as they required, to cover the wages–eight hours a day for five days for two men at $14 dollars an hour.
The woman with whom I spoke, a boss there, started out her lies by telling me that the men were legal, documented workers, and that they got paid net wages after federal and state deductions were collected plus the company’s 10-percent commission for finding employment for the men and maintaining the wage and work documents required by federal and state law. To which I responded that I spoke to both men with my admittedly limited Spanish language abilities, but communicated well enough to fully understand that the men were not American citizens, had no documentation and that her company was ripping the men off with false deductions that were greater than the men’s net earnings. How could either man collect any Social Security or Medicare benefits when they became eligible if they had no clue of a Social Security number or even get a tax refund?
The woman hung up the phone without saying another word. And the company never cashed my check. They destroyed the paper trail that led to these two men and to my doorstep. Fine with me!
Next morning, the two men came for work and told me that they were fired, but that they had made a commitment to me to do the work and were keeping their promises. Standing by their word!
I said fine. But I insist on giving you each $10 dollars an hour cash for every hour that you work.
They worked through the week and most of the next week too. I paid them cash each day. Exactly as they wanted me to do. Just like ranchers out here did when I was a boy, and Braceros regularly and legally crossed the border to work, get paid cash, and went home to Mexico at season’s end. What happened to that system that worked well in the American Southwest until the mid-1960s? Politics and corruption.
When the men showed up for work the first day, and it was pretty cold weather, heavy frost covering this part of Colorado, only one of them had a coat. An old Army field jacket with no liner.
“Where’s your coat?” I asked the man in shirt sleeves. He shook his head, no and said, “No tiene.”
The other fellow smiled and showed me his Army jacket with no liner. Little better than him wearing a canvas shirt over his shirt. But he was a lot better off than the other guy.
So, without a word, I went in the house and pulled out two good, warm barn coats, each with wool flannel lining over a layer of insulation, to keep the men warm. After handing each man a coat to put on, I got in my truck while the men now happily worked, saying nothing again, and drove to the Big R ranch store where I bought good winter work coats for each man. Each a gift, not tied to their work.
As I exchanged their new coats for my loaners, that were well worn, I told the two fellows that it was part of the benefits package at my ranch. Everybody that works for me gets a coat. No charity. Just the right thing to do.
Besides, I could not bear the idea of either man working in cold weather without a coat! And what kind of cruel and heartless person would allow anyone to work in the cold with no coat?
Next day, after I had gotten the men coats of their very own. New coats, not worn out or thrown away items. The one man’s wife brought homemade breakfast burritos for my wife and me as well as the men. We ate breakfast together as men with mutual respect, and went to work afterward. Then one day, as a gift, she also brought us a sack full of homemade tamales, which I love. It’s a regular winter thing in a Latin household, making tamales. A family time. It warmed my heart and my stomach too.
When we finished our work, a little more than a week later, after working together and my Spanish language skills improving daily, I asked the men what they would do next?
They said that they had saved a good deal of money during the year and were heading back to central Mexico. The man with his wife would drive there, and give the other man a ride home to his wife and four children. The money would give them a start in a construction business of their own down there.
They hugged me goodbye and I never saw them again, nor have heard from either man.
But the bottom line here is a clear example of doing what is only right in the face of what is blatantly wrong, and remains wrong today: Exploitation of the poor and desperate by the wealthy. It is common in America and openly done in China as outright slavery!
Slavery is the reason for human trafficking. It is big business. Bigger business and even more profitable than the drug business. That is why the underworld of China and the Mexican cartels exploit human trafficking as a major source of their profits.
And these so-called respectable international corporations like Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola and all the 80 or so other hypocrites, are not one bit better than the underworld crime organizations in China and Latin America, and in the United States.
Right is right and wrong is wrong. Slavery and exploitation of the poor and desperate people struggling to simply survive and hold their families together is perhaps the most wrong of all wrongs done in the world today.
It stands against the ideals of the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence, the very foundation of America.
And it stands against God! An affront to God! It goes against everything that Jesus Christ stated in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) that begins His Sermon on the Mount.
Mark my words, regardless of whether any of these corporate leaders believe in God, the Lord God Almighty will hold these people who exploit and enslave God’s children accountable. Just as God will hold us all accountable on Judgment Day.
Plus, there is this thing that some people call, “Karma.” I call it, God gets even. And He does. Just stand by.
We called him Adam. Sometimes, in humor, I called him, “Up-N-Adam,” a nickname that sprung from my sincere love for the youngster who grew into a truly good man with a pure heart and a beautiful soul.
William Adam Wilson was my brother John’s stepson; John’s wife Gina’s first born son. She had previously married William O. Wilson for 11 years, a good and gentle man who dearly loved his wife and son, devoted himself to them, but had his life cut short, enduring a slow death from the heartbreaking, destructive effects that Type One Diabetes has on the human body. When Bill Wilson died, he was blind and had no legs, yet he still tried to be the father that a father ought to be for Adam, shooting hoops in the backyard with the little boy, the father blind and in a wheelchair. Adam had to use a long stick to tap the side of the metal hoop so his father could focus on the sound and know where to shoot the basketball. A father’s determined love for his son, overcoming all obstacles.
Bill Wilson was also my brother John’s best friend. And it broke John’s heart when his buddy died, January 10, 1992, Bill’s 37th birthday. For John, it was as if his own brother had passed away.
John’s relationship with Gina and her little boy, Adam, grew over the months after Bill’s death. This extended through the year until the two of them realized that they truly loved each other. That they belonged together. That God meant them to be together. So, on September 25, 1992 John and Gina got married.
Bill would have wanted it. His best friend, John, taking up the course of life with his beloved and devoted wife, Gina. John would take great care of Gina and Adam, and Bill would remain branded in the centers of their hearts, and they would honor him with their love.
As Adam began to grow up, he also learned more and more about the goodness of his father, and that like him, his father had a beautiful soul. So, out of love and respect for his father, Adam began calling himself, William, and asked others to call him William. An act of great love from a wonderful son honoring his father.
But like his father, growing through early adolescence, John and Gina and young William Adam Wilson learned that he had developed Type One Diabetes. An affliction apparently passed down through genetics.
Thus, it was the heartbreaking, destructive effects of Type One Diabetes that on February 17, 2020 put William Adam Wilson into a coma. And on March 20, 2020, at age 36, lying in a Colorado Springs care facility, he died. Alone.
Unvisited for those 32 days of unconsciousness, appearing to the healthcare workers and the funeral care staff that no one held even a whet of concern about this young man. Apparently rejected no different than an abandoned dog picked up off the cold streets, left to die alone in the city pound.
William Adam Wilson would not have died alone, had his mother known that he had suffered the catastrophic medical event on February 17, where excessive insulin in his body caused him to crash and fall into coma.
Trugina Henderson would have been at the hospital emergency room from moment one, and she would have never left her son’s side. Gina would have been at the nursing care facility throughout every day and night of the 32 days that her son lay in a coma, as he did, slowly dying, with no one checking on him, except for the nursing staff and doctors. His devoted mother would have accompanied William Adam to the funeral home too. And his dad, my brother, John Henderson, would have remained stedfast at her side and at William’s side. Stalwartly there. Every bitter and sad day that remained of John’s and Gina’s dearly loved son’s life.
Together, John and Gina with their other son, Martin and daughter, Katelynn, with my family and me, and all the many others who greatly loved him would have taken William Adam Wilson to his birthplace in Oklahoma. We would have buried him next to his father, had William’s family known anything of what happened to this very dearly loved son.
Almost eight years ago, William Adam Wilson got married to a deeply troubled young woman (her name is not important for this writing). We suspect that she had suffered abuse as a child. She displayed all the behavior of it–withdrawn, afraid and sullen. Not trusting anyone. Thus, she had a host of mental issues and deeply seated emotional troubles.
William, likewise, carried more than his share of disabilities too. Not just Type One Diabetes, but other serious and debilitating issues. They included several emotional and learning disabilities, we can call them. And they were punctuated by William Adam having the affliction of Asperger Syndrome.
Asperger’s not only impacted and greatly limited William’s social interaction abilities, but limited his comprehension and understanding. Complex matters did not compute. His world was simple. Yes or no, black or white. Shades of gray made wrapping his mind around something multifaceted quite difficult. Yet one thing that Asperger Syndrome could not stifle was his love. His abundant love. Nor could it flaw his beautiful soul.
When John’s and my mother, in her 90s, lived with him and Gina, and William and Martin and Katelynn, she could do little for herself. William loved her as his grandmother too. He would check on her throughout any day, and often would lovingly ask her if he could get anything for her. She would sometimes say that she would really enjoy drinking a chocolate frosty (ice cream shake) from Wendy’s restaurant.
William would smile and tell her, “Grandmother, you wait right there. I will go and get you one.”
And he would get in his car and drive several miles to the nearest Wendy’s drive-in restaurant and bring home to her a chocolate frosty. All that trouble just to give this old woman who would regularly sit with him and talk about Jesus something nice.
For William Adam Wilson, his love was boundless. All or nothing.
A year or so into his marriage, William’s young wife worried about her husband sharing his love. She grew jealous of everyone and everything because William loved his family–his mother and dad, younger sister Katelynn and younger brother Martin. So, as this jealously became too heavy for her to bear, she gave William an ultimatum. He could love her or he could love his family. He could not love both.
William made the decision that he loved his wife. It was his responsibility, especially since he had pledged to God to be her husband and do all those things for her that God expected of him. So, William Adam Wilson divorced himself from his family, who he dearly loved. He sacrificed a huge part of his life so that his wife could know that he loved her most.
I do not mention his wife’s name for many reasons, but she took him away from John and Gina, Katelynn and Martin. She forbade him any contact with anyone of his family or his friends. Not them nor his uncles and aunts, nor his cousins. Not anyone but those she approved. Which was no one outside her immediate family.
Not only did he have to sacrifice his ties with his family but his ties to other things he loved. He had to throw out his collection of Oklahoma University football jerseys and hats. He had to get rid of his Broncos stuff and Cowboys stuff too. William Adam loved football but his wife could not compete with that love either. He had to make the choice, and William chose her.
He chose her and sacrificed everything else in his world that he loved, like football, hunting and fishing, and the people who loved him. Like his mother and dad and sister and brother. And his very large family. People who would go miles and miles for him because of their unconditional love for the young man.
During the ensuing six plus years, John and Gina tried every legal means of regaining contact, just to simply see their son with his great heart filled with love. They asked police do wellness checks. Our church’s pastor, Dave Shumpert, of Cowboy Church of Peyton, made many attempts over the years to visit with William and his wife, and her mother too, who lived with them. Pastor Dave had counseled William and his wife before their marriage and performed their marriage ceremony. Yet William’s wife forbade him any degree of contact with anyone outside her own family, which consisted of herself, her mother and brother.
They lived on William’s Social Security Disability income, which wasn’t much, but it paid the rent on a small, very modest apartment in Colorado Springs, and bought enough food to keep them going.
So, February 17, just after Valentine’s Day, with the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate candy that goes with it, and William Adam having a special taste for chocolate, he fell into a coma. For some reason, too much insulin surged through his system and sent down sugar levels, crashing through the bottom of his blood sugar scale. William’s parents had saved him several times before, when his insulin took him down. Gina knew what to do because she had done the same for her late husband, Bill Wilson, William’s father. Yet William’s wife apparently knew little to nothing about the immediate action that she needed to take to save his life. So, when William Adam Wilson crashed, he stayed down.
First responders took him to the hospital emergency room. After every effort to bring William back failed, the healthcare givers reluctantly transferred him to a hospice facility when doctors knew that nothing within their realm of science could bring him back. Thirty-two days later, on March 20, 2020, William Adam Wilson died. And his beautiful soul went to heaven.
William Adam Wilson had his disabilities, but he had a great and solid love for his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He prayed every day and devoted himself to living for Jesus. As with his love, William was all-in for Jesus.
On Labor Day weekend, John and Gina, her younger sister, Sandy and her husband had gone camping and fishing. That same weekend Adam’s Aunt Pam, Gina’s other sister, Pamala Howard, who lives in Ohio, sat at her computer and as she had done throughout the past six years, like John and Gina and most of Adam’s family had also regularly done, she made random searches for anything that might give them a glimpse of how William was doing. Maybe a Facebook notice or something might offer a sliver of light into this dearly loved son’s world. Any little something that might help to sooth the ache in Pam’s heart, and in Gina’s heart and John’s, Martin’s and Katelynn’s and all of their family’s hearts, because we all greatly loved and missed the young man.
Only this time, something was different. Something had weighed on Pam’s heart, and told her that she needed to look harder. Expand her search, define it more. Pam decided to try a search for Adam using his full name and place of birth. It should narrow things down. So, she typed William Adam Wilson born in Lawton, Oklahoma.
There, at the top of the search page stood an obituary posted online March 20, 2020, from a funeral home in Colorado Springs. Tears flowed from her eyes as her heart broke, reading the very briefest of death notices. There was no doubt. Adam had died.
Then another wave of heartbreak and dread closed on Pam. She had to call her sister and tell her that her dearly loved son had lost his life. Not just recently died but had passed away six months ago.
Pam could not make the call that night nor the next, she had to get the shock of it under control before she told her sister. As she wrestled with how exactly she should best handle the dreadful task, she decided to wait. Wait until John and Gina had returned home from their camping fun with her sister Sandy and her husband, fishing several lakes and streams along Colorado’s Continental Divide. Pam wanted them to at least have another night and day of enjoyment before she shattered their world with the news of Adam.
Thus on the night of September 8, well after time for dinner and allowing plenty of time for them to return home to Falcon, Colorado, Pam called Gina and John. She cut right to it and told them the news that she had found.
John hurried to his computer, took a deep and dreadful breath and typed into the search block, William Adam Wilson, born in Lawton, Oklahoma. And up popped his dearly loved son’s obituary.
It contained no picture, was only three sentences long but contained the correct birth date, place of birth, father’s and mother’s (probably taken from his birth certificate) and his wife’s name, along with the name of her brother as survivors. Unbeknownst to his family and everyone who greatly loved him, William Adam Wilson had died.
John called me, 10:30 p.m. on that Tuesday night, devastated. And thus our grieving for the boy that we dearly loved, William Adam Wilson, now dead at age 36, began.
Adam’s disabilities benefits and Colorado taxpayers covered the meager costs of his death processing at the funeral home. One could hardly call what they did anything more than processing. Pretty much the same treatment that a homeless person with no family receives. Cremation and no memorial services. No burial, no headstone, just a can of ashes inside a cardboard box.
The funeral director had to telephone and leave messages for William’s wife multiple times to persuade her to come pick up her husband’s ashes. She finally did, and gave the good man at the funeral home a hand-scrawled page of a few lines of facts, probably taken from her husband’s birth certificate, for an obituary. Then she took the container filled with William’s ashes and disappeared.
Her mother had died in 2019, and without William’s disability check providing her income, she moved out of their humble apartment. The building manager said she had gone to Arizona to be with family, but she left no city name nor forwarding address.
So, William Adam Wilson’s mom and dad, sister and brother, uncles and aunts, including me, are left with nothing but our memories of this pure and gentle young man that we so dearly loved. Adoring memories of a wonderful person who had a heart filled with love and a beautiful soul.
As matters now stand, no body or ashes of our beloved William to bury, we will instead take an effigy of him–photographs and keepsakes and notes of love in a box–and lay those to rest next to William O. “Bill” Wilson. We will hold our memorial service there, and the grave marker will read William Adam Wilson, on the same tombstone marking his father’s grave. Side by side. It will suffice, because our love for William Adam Wilson is greater than the divide of death that separates us, for the time being.
On Thursday, September 10, Pastor David Shumpert and his wife, Beverly, drove the more than 220 miles roundtrip to Colorado Springs from Johnstown, Colorado, to meet with us at John’s home. A most intimate funeral service, if you will. All of us, including my son, Bobby, who lives in Lawton, Oklahoma and was here visiting, sat with Pastor Dave and Beverly and let our hearts flood out streams of tears and sweet memories of our beloved boy, William Adam Wilson.
Pastor Dave prayed with us, and read Scripture to us. He told us that he knew with absolute certainty that William Adam Wilson now lived in the presence of our Lord in heaven. Pastor Dave had known William very well, and without mistake, knew the young man’s heart. I too am certain that my beloved nephew is with Jesus.
And that is the good news of the day. William is likewise with his father Bill Wilson, and neither of them suffer from the destructive torture of Type One Diabetes. Bill has legs and can see beyond the stars, his son at his side, standing tall and fully fit. Both perfect in all respects. They live now in splendorous spiritual bodies, no longer in corrupted human flesh but the matter that exists with God for eternity. Glorious stuff.
As we sat there with Pastor Dave, praying and weeping, we realized the truth of God’s love for William as we told each other that William’s afflictions no longer existed. No more Asperger Syndrome, no more Type One Diabetes. While his father had lost his legs and eyesight to the slow death of diabetes, William did not have to live to face that torture, that heartbreak, that ordeal. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, had smiled on our beloved son and brought him home to be with Him for eternity.
And, as Pastor Dave reminded us, God had transformed William into a flawless, perfect, glorious body that radiates marvelous and wondrous like the stars. Our beloved Adam stands amidst the Angels, before the Lord.
This morning, as I read my Bible, as I try to do each day, my lesson took me to the epistles of Paul, writing to the Corinthians. Paul told the Corinthians about how we who believe in Jesus will be resurrected from this life and transformed to glory. Human flesh is of this world, corrupt and with sin. God moves our souls to glorified bodies, utterly perfect and radiant, just as His presence is perfect and radiant.
So, now we can celebrate, have great joy for our very dearly loved William Adam Wilson. He now lives on High, in the presence of Christ Jesus, and he suffers no more pain or limitations, nor earthly needs nor sorrow.
We rejoice in the Lord and praise His Holy Name, as God’s Word assures us in the epistle written long ago by His Apostle Paul, a testament of the Truth and Promise told in Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 15:35-58
The Nature of the Resurrection Body
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come?” 36 You fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And as for what you sow — you are not sowing the body that will be, but only a seed, perhaps of wheat or another grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he wants, and to each of the seeds its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same flesh; there is one flesh for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is different from that of the earthly ones. 41 There is a splendor of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; in fact, one star differs from another star in splendor. 42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; 43 sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; 44 sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written, The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.
47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 Like the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; like the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.
50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. 53 For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality.
54 When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. 55 Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting?
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
A song came in my head this morning while I set water at a slow trickle on my red apple tree. Baby Blue, a melody by Badfinger, a worldwide hit in 1971.
Hearing the guitar riff play in my mind, so catchy, I began to recall those days when I served in the Far East, a young United States Marine who had risen to sergeant and was surrounded by the best men I have ever known, or perhaps will ever know. Men who were boys then, but did the work of men, and had pure hearts and high ideals.
Corporal Doug Bricco could play the guitar and sing too. He could pull off that Badfinger riff from Baby Blue and sound just like the recording. Doug, big and muscular, was a studious type, gold rim glasses and a black moustache, regulation, of course. But he was a lot smarter than most of us. A young man with a beautiful mind, and talents to match. He would go far, if he lived past the present days.
Then Corporal Carl Hebert, a coonass from New Orleans. What a piece of work! Filled with jokes and sweetness. I don’t think Carl ever stopped smiling, even when he followed Lieutenant Colonel Ray Porter and his battalion of Marines onto Koh Tang Island and engaged Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge forces that had kidnapped the American cargo ship, Mayaguez.
There was a certain goodness that hides deep in my heart from the Viet Nam War era. Not the war itself but from that time: The closeness to each other that we felt, we who were mere boys then and put on the uniforms of men and became men.
We were innocent in those days, like America, like everyone in the Land of the Free. Driven by idealism based on goodness and ethics and decency, driven by a love for God and for our country.
Our fathers had, like us, become men in battle. World War II and Korea. I recall as a child in Artesia, New Mexico the hometown boys in uniform, olive green and shined boots, helmets on their heads and M-1 rifles on their shoulders, marching down Main Street, our National Guardsmen home from Korea. Boys who became men, enduring horrors that words cannot describe, yet still holding onto the promises and the innocence of America then, 1953.
Ten years later, things would change. Innocence and decency, purity and honor fell under attack, led by ruthless cowards who saw an opportunity to make money and perhaps train the forces in some real-time combat. They didn’t take Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap seriously.
The French were sissies, after all. Got beat at Dien Bien Phu by a bunch of rice farmers with worn-out guns. They branded the French ineffective fighters for how they rolled over to the Germans in World War II and Charles de Gaulle ran for cover, leaving his nation unguarded. They didn’t stop to consider that General de Gaulle had remained in the weeds, hidden with the French Resistance and led them in a continued fight against the German forces that occupied France. And those rice farmers in Viet Nam fought for a cause alongside well-trained soldiers who had not stopped waging battles since they fought the Japanese in World War II.
America stepped in where the French had failed, ten years earlier at Dien Bien Phu, believing the ideals of Superman—no one can beat us. We were innocent and pure in mind and heart. Our nation’s political leaders weren’t, but we were. And we believed. Because innocent America had raised us. We had goodness in us, running through and through. We came to help a beleaguered people of South Viet Nam, honestly. We did. Honestly. And we died there, physically and emotionally.
The crooks pulling the strings and making money hand over fist did not believe in anything except their richness. They could not care less for America’s children sent to die in a war we did not understand. To this day we still do not understand.
Thus, the hard-working poor and middle class of America once again took up arms, while the mighty few who filled their pockets did not but filled their pockets.
We came home from that war changed. Changed just like America. The goodness became cynicism, mistrust of authority and openly angry objection. We can blame our change as angry men on PTSD, the trauma of war. An easy cop out, but there’s much more to it than simply PTSD. Those of us who saw additional war and more horror after Viet Nam have the memories and struggles and flashbacks of our service stacked atop itself. Most veterans from my time and today’s wars cope, but too many among us simply and finally give up, put a gun to their heads and pull the trigger. We look forward to rest at last from the darkness that overwhelmed us. That took our innocence.
We who remain to fight on miss that innocence and goodness, and the love. We loved America then, and we loved God much more. We loved our families and loved the ideals taught to us at Hermosa Elementary School in Artesia, New Mexico in 1954. And in 1966 when we graduated high school and marched to war in Viet Nam.
We miss the time in this nation when even in New York City the high school boys had shooting clubs and took guns to school. At my high school, we kept them loaded on racks in the back windows of our pickup trucks, parked out front, on the street, unlocked. Not to use to commit violence or terrify anyone, but because guns were a part of who we were as Americans, innocent and pure hearted in our ideals. Guns in America were for sport and pleasure.
They were part of something even much larger: Our liberty. Our decency. The goodness that America was in those difficult years. And during those years, our innocence died.
No, we were not perfect. Far from it! Racial inequality loomed large and shameful, and directly opposed our true American idealism that said God created all of mankind equal and required equal justice and opportunity.
Today, as a nation, we have become bitter and angry. Racism seems to have grown worse, not better with what should be enlightened understanding. We have become selfish like the bastards who led America to war so long ago. Guns mean violence today, and hate stands at every corner. Blame and hatred and loudmouthed condemnation from every side. Ugliness thrives where beauty once lived. Innocence and decency slain by the devil himself, it seems.
Baby Blue begins with, “Guess I got what I deserve… Left you waiting there too long, my love… All that time, without a word… Didn’t know you’d think that I’d forget… or I’d regret… The special love I have for you… My baby blue….”
I can still hear Doug Bricco singing it. His guitar in perfect sync and tune. Boys in the barracks, waiting for battle, to do the work of harsh men. And my heart aches, because I too miss the innocence of that day. I miss the sweetness. The purity of our idealism. And most of all, I miss the love.
I am posting this short story from Rudyard Kipling’s, Just So Stories, for my great granddaughter, Julianne. Daughter of my beloved granddaughter, Janice Elizabeth Henderson, who is one child who is much like the Elephant’s Child, full of what Kipling called in his story, “‘satiable curtisosity.” Once, Janice told me, “Grandpa, I’m just one of those people who has to pee on the electric fence.”
I had told Janice that her father had always learned the hard way, not taking advice but trying things out for himself. I had said that some people will listen when you warn them to not pee on an electric fence. But there are those who must find out for themselves if the electricity is working. After all, the electric fence is just there, all quiet and unassuming, seemingly dead. But go ahead and pee on that bare wire running through insulators.
My Best Beloved Janice is just such an Elephant’s Child, full of adventure and courageous to try anything, despite the warnings and the spankings.
Currently, while serving on active duty in the United States Army, Janice’s beautiful little four year old daughter, Julianne, is living with Janice’s father, my son Toby Warren Henderson, the very same person who must pee on the electric fence. Toby’s brother, Bobby, on the other hand, listens well to advice. But that’s another story. However, today I am talking about my great granddaughter Julianne and “‘satiable curtiosity,” peeing on electric fences.
Rudyard Kipling is one of my very favorite authors, and I do have several that I love, but Kipling is among the best of them. And perhaps my most favorite of Kipling’s tales is that about the insatiably curious child of the mother elephant who one day asks the question: What do crocodiles have for dinner?
Do not tread, O Best Beloved, too near the water’s edge of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees. Advice is a good thing to consider, because experience is often the harsher teacher. Best be prepared for addressing experience by learning a bit first. Then venture off to the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, wise with good advice.
As with all the Just So Stories, each has its moral, and often a good explanation of life and nature, such as just how the elephant got its trunk.
I hope that Janice, or perhaps my son, Toby or his wife, Autumn will read this wonderful Kipling tale to Julianne. And when they do, be sure to add the voices of each character. Just as my own loving mother did when she read this tale to me.
THE ELEPHANT’S CHILD
From the Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
N the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk. He had only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot, that he could wriggle about from side to side; but he couldn’t pick up things with it. But there was one Elephant–a new Elephant–an Elephant’s Child–who was full of ‘satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions. And he lived in Africa, and he filled all Africa with his ‘satiable curtiosities. He asked his tall aunt, the Ostrich, why her tail-feathers grew just so, and his tall aunt the Ostrich spanked him with her hard, hard claw. He asked his tall uncle, the Giraffe, what made his skin spotty, and his tall uncle, the Giraffe, spanked him with his hard, hard hoof. And still he was full of ‘satiable curtiosity! He asked his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, why her eyes were red, and his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, spanked him with her broad, broad hoof; and he asked his hairy uncle, the Baboon, why melons tasted just so, and his hairy uncle, the Baboon, spanked him with his hairy, hairy paw. And still he was full of ‘satiable curtiosity! He asked questions about everything that he saw, or heard, or felt, or smelt, or touched, and all his uncles and his aunts spanked him. And still he was full of ‘satiable curtiosity!
One fine morning in the middle of the Precession of the Equinoxes this ‘satiable Elephant’s Child asked a new fine question that he had never asked before. He asked, ‘What does the Crocodile have for dinner?’ Then everybody said, ‘Hush!’ in a loud and dretful tone, and they spanked him immediately and directly, without stopping, for a long time.
By and by, when that was finished, he came upon Kolokolo Bird sitting in the middle of a wait-a-bit thorn-bush, and he said, ‘My father has spanked me, and my mother has spanked me; all my aunts and uncles have spanked me for my ‘satiable curtiosity; and still I want to know what the Crocodile has for dinner!’
Then Kolokolo Bird said, with a mournful cry, ‘Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and find out.’
That very next morning, when there was nothing left of the Equinoxes, because the Precession had preceded according to precedent, this ‘satiable Elephant’s Child took a hundred pounds of bananas (the little short red kind), and a hundred pounds of sugar-cane (the long purple kind), and seventeen melons (the greeny-crackly kind), and said to all his dear families, ‘Goodbye. I am going to the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to find out what the Crocodile has for dinner.’ And they all spanked him once more for luck, though he asked them most politely to stop.
Then he went away, a little warm, but not at all astonished, eating melons, and throwing the rind about, because he could not pick it up.
He went from Graham’s Town to Kimberley, and from Kimberley to Khama’s Country, and from Khama’s Country he went east by north, eating melons all the time, till at last he came to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, precisely as Kolokolo Bird had said.
Now you must know and understand, O Best Beloved, that till that very week, and day, and hour, and minute, this ‘satiable Elephant’s Child had never seen a Crocodile, and did not know what one was like. It was all his ‘satiable curtiosity.
The first thing that he found was a Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake curled round a rock.
”Scuse me,’ said the Elephant’s Child most politely, ‘but have you seen such a thing as a Crocodile in these promiscuous parts?’
‘Have I seen a Crocodile?’ said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, in a voice of dretful scorn. ‘What will you ask me next?’
”Scuse me,’ said the Elephant’s Child, ‘but could you kindly tell me what he has for dinner?’
Then the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake uncoiled himself very quickly from the rock, and spanked the Elephant’s Child with his scalesome, flailsome tail.
‘That is odd,’ said the Elephant’s Child, ‘because my father and my mother, and my uncle and my aunt, not to mention my other aunt, the Hippopotamus, and my other uncle, the Baboon, have all spanked me for my ‘satiable curtiosity–and I suppose this is the same thing.’
So he said good-bye very politely to the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, and helped to coil him up on the rock again, and went on, a little warm, but not at all astonished, eating melons, and throwing the rind about, because he could not pick it up, till he trod on what he thought was a log of wood at the very edge of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees.
But it was really the Crocodile, O Best Beloved, and the Crocodile winked one eye–like this!
”Scuse me,’ said the Elephant’s Child most politely, ‘but do you happen to have seen a Crocodile in these promiscuous parts?’
Then the Crocodile winked the other eye, and lifted half his tail out of the mud; and the Elephant’s Child stepped back most politely, because he did not wish to be spanked again.
‘Come hither, Little One,’ said the Crocodile. ‘Why do you ask such things?’
”Scuse me,’ said the Elephant’s Child most politely, ‘but my father has spanked me, my mother has spanked me, not to mention my tall aunt, the Ostrich, and my tall uncle, the Giraffe, who can kick ever so hard, as well as my broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, and my hairy uncle, the Baboon, and including the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, with the scalesome, flailsome tail, just up the bank, who spanks harder than any of them; and so, if it’s quite all the same to you, I don’t want to be spanked any more.’
‘Come hither, Little One,’ said the Crocodile, ‘for I am the Crocodile,’ and he wept crocodile-tears to show it was quite true.
Then the Elephant’s Child grew all breathless, and panted, and kneeled down on the bank and said, ‘You are the very person I have been looking for all these long days. Will you please tell me what you have for dinner?’
‘Come hither, Little One,’ said the Crocodile, ‘and I’ll whisper.’
Then the Elephant’s Child put his head down close to the Crocodile’s musky, tusky mouth, and the Crocodile caught him by his little nose, which up to that very week, day, hour, and minute, had been no bigger than a boot, though much more useful.
‘I think,’ said the Crocodile–and he said it between his teeth, like this–‘I think to-day I will begin with Elephant’s Child!’
At this, O Best Beloved, the Elephant’s Child was much annoyed, and he said, speaking through his nose, like this, ‘Led go! You are hurtig be!’
THIS is the Elephant’s Child having his nose pulled by the Crocodile. He is much surprised and astonished and hurt, and he is talking through his nose and saying, ‘Led go! You are hurtig be!’ He is pulling very hard, and so is the Crocodile: but the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake is hurrying through the water to help the Elephant’s Child. All that black stuff is the banks of the great grey-green greasy Limpopo River (but I am not allowed to paint these pictures), and the bottly-tree with the twisty roots and the eight leaves is one of the fever-trees that grow there. Underneath the truly picture are shadows of African animals walking into an African ark. There are two lions, two ostriches, two oxen, two camels, two sheep, and two other things that look like rats, but I think they are rock-rabbits. They don’t mean anything. I put them in because I thought they looked pretty. They would look very fine if I were allowed to paint them.
Then the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake scuffled down from the bank and said, ‘My young friend, if you do not now, immediately and instantly, pull as hard as ever you can, it is my opinion that your acquaintance in the large-pattern leather ulster’ (and by this he meant the Crocodile) ‘will jerk you into yonder limpid stream before you can say Jack Robinson.’
This is the way Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snakes always talk.
Then the Elephant’s Child sat back on his little haunches, and pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and his nose began to stretch. And the Crocodile floundered into the water, making it all creamy with great sweeps of his tail, and he pulled, and pulled, and pulled.
And the Elephant’s Child’s nose kept on stretching; and the Elephant’s Child spread all his little four legs and pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and his nose kept on stretching; and the Crocodile threshed his tail like an oar, and he pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and at each pull the Elephant’s Child’s nose grew longer and longer–and it hurt him hijjus!
Then the Elephant’s Child felt his legs slipping, and he said through his nose, which was now nearly five feet long, ‘This is too butch for be!’
Then the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake came down from the bank, and knotted himself in a double-clove-hitch round the Elephant’s Child’s hind legs, and said, ‘Rash and inexperienced traveller, we will now seriously devote ourselves to a little high tension, because if we do not, it is my impression that yonder self-propelling man-of-war with the armour-plated upper deck’ (and by this, O Best Beloved, he meant the Crocodile), ‘will permanently vitiate your future career.’
That is the way all Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snakes always talk.
So he pulled, and the Elephant’s Child pulled, and the Crocodile pulled; but the Elephant’s Child and the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake pulled hardest; and at last the Crocodile let go of the Elephant’s Child’s nose with a plop that you could hear all up and down the Limpopo.
Then the Elephant’s Child sat down most hard and sudden; but first he was careful to say ‘Thank you’ to the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake; and next he was kind to his poor pulled nose, and wrapped it all up in cool banana leaves, and hung it in the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo to cool.
‘What are you doing that for?’ said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake.
”Scuse me,’ said the Elephant’s Child, ‘but my nose is badly out of shape, and I am waiting for it to shrink.’
‘Then you will have to wait a long time,’ said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. ‘Some people do not know what is good for them.’
The Elephant’s Child sat there for three days waiting for his nose to shrink. But it never grew any shorter, and, besides, it made him squint. For, O Best Beloved, you will see and understand that the Crocodile had pulled it out into a really truly trunk same as all Elephants have to-day.
At the end of the third day a fly came and stung him on the shoulder, and before he knew what he was doing he lifted up his trunk and hit that fly dead with the end of it.
”Vantage number one!’ said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. ‘You couldn’t have done that with a mere-smear nose. Try and eat a little now.’
Before he thought what he was doing the Elephant’s Child put out his trunk and plucked a large bundle of grass, dusted it clean against his fore-legs, and stuffed it into his own mouth.
”Vantage number two!’ said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. ‘You couldn’t have done that with a mere-smear nose. Don’t you think the sun is very hot here?’
‘It is,’ said the Elephant’s Child, and before he thought what he was doing he schlooped up a schloop of mud from the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo, and slapped it on his head, where it made a cool schloopy-sloshy mud-cap all trickly behind his ears.
”Vantage number three!’ said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. ‘You couldn’t have done that with a mere-smear nose. Now how do you feel about being spanked again?’
”Scuse me,’ said the Elephant’s Child, ‘but I should not like it at all.’
‘How would you like to spank somebody?’ said the Bi- Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake.
‘I should like it very much indeed,’ said the Elephant’s Child.
‘Well,’ said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, ‘you will find that new nose of yours very useful to spank people with.’
‘Thank you,’ said the Elephant’s Child, ‘I’ll remember that; and now I think I’ll go home to all my dear families and try.’
So the Elephant’s Child went home across Africa frisking and whisking his trunk. When he wanted fruit to eat he pulled fruit down from a tree, instead of waiting for it to fall as he used to do. When he wanted grass he plucked grass up from the ground, instead of going on his knees as he used to do. When the flies bit him he broke off the branch of a tree and used it as fly-whisk; and he made himself a new, cool, slushy-squshy mud-cap whenever the sun was hot. When he felt lonely walking through Africa he sang to himself down his trunk, and the noise was louder than several brass bands.
THIS is just a picture of the Elephant’s Child going to pull bananas off a banana-tree after he had got his fine new long trunk. I don’t think it is a very nice picture; but I couldn’t make it any better, because elephants and bananas are hard to draw. The streaky things behind the Elephant’s Child mean squoggy marshy country somewhere in Africa. The Elephant’s Child made most of his mud-cakes out of the mud that he found there. I think it would look better if you painted the banana-tree green and the Elephant’s Child red.
He went especially out of his way to find a broad Hippopotamus (she was no relation of his), and he spanked her very hard, to make sure that the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake had spoken the truth about his new trunk. The rest of the time he picked up the melon rinds that he had dropped on his way to the Limpopo–for he was a Tidy Pachyderm.
One dark evening he came back to all his dear families, and he coiled up his trunk and said, ‘How do you do?’ They were very glad to see him, and immediately said, ‘Come here and be spanked for your ‘satiable curtiosity.’
‘Pooh,’ said the Elephant’s Child. ‘I don’t think you peoples know anything about spanking; but I do, and I’ll show you.’ Then he uncurled his trunk and knocked two of his dear brothers head over heels.
‘O Bananas!’ said they, ‘where did you learn that trick, and what have you done to your nose?’
‘I got a new one from the Crocodile on the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River,’ said the Elephant’s Child. ‘I asked him what he had for dinner, and he gave me this to keep.’
‘It looks very ugly,’ said his hairy uncle, the Baboon.
‘It does,’ said the Elephant’s Child. ‘But it’s very useful,’ and he picked up his hairy uncle, the Baboon, by one hairy leg, and hove him into a hornet’s nest.
Then that bad Elephant’s Child spanked all his dear families for a long time, till they were very warm and greatly astonished. He pulled out his tall Ostrich aunt’s tail-feathers; and he caught his tall uncle, the Giraffe, by the hind-leg, and dragged him through a thorn-bush; and he shouted at his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, and blew bubbles into her ear when she was sleeping in the water after meals; but he never let any one touch Kolokolo Bird.
At last things grew so exciting that his dear families went off one by one in a hurry to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to borrow new noses from the Crocodile. When they came back nobody spanked anybody any more; and ever since that day, O Best Beloved, all the Elephants you will ever see, besides all those that you won’t, have trunks precisely like the trunk of the ‘satiable Elephant’s Child.
I Keep six honest serving-men:
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five.
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men:
But different folk have different views:
I know a person small–
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!
She sends ’em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes–
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!