JUST A WORD IN PASSING

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    My maternal grandfather, Frederick T. Gelder (1874-1955), was editor and publisher of the Forest City News in Pennsylvania from 1898 to 1955. I have been reading his weekly column, “JUST A WORD IN PASSING,” written over a period of 52 years. I have copies of the column from the last 16 months of his life in our family archives.
My Grandfather held a number of political offices, including from 1924 to 1940, Republican Senator from the23rd District to the Pennsylvania Senate. During his last term, he was elected President Pro-Tempore of the Senate.
   “Because of seniority and his position as chairman of may state committees, he probably wielded more influence in state politics than any Republican of his day.”—Gertrude (Gelder) Bryan
   The following is from “JUST A WORD IN PASSING,” February 11, 1954: “Perhaps the infiltration of government into our lives—even in attempts at helpfulness has sapped from us some of the fortitude, independence and self-reliance of the pioneers.
We have reached the point where we do not just hope, we demand, that the government come to the rescue on any and all occasions. We’ve wandered far astray from the viewpoint of former president Grover Cleveland, who is 1887 enunciated the principle that ‘though the people support the government, the Government should not support the people.’
   It is said that one out of every eight persons in the country is receiving Federal money in one form or another. There isn’t a chance that the country will ever get back to the fundamental proclaimed by that robust Democratic president, but it is well to remember that each and every time the government helps one group it does so only with money it takes from other groups.”

DONALD TRUMP, A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART

   Donald Trump is daily accused by Democrats and Republicans alike of being undisciplined and off message. “He needs to stick to the script,” they say. They do not understand his satire and irony. If they do understand, they do not appreciate his unique approach to political campaigning. The fact is the Donald is very disciplined and focused on his message. The real problem is that his critics hate his core message, “Make America Great Again!”
   During the primaries he was outspent by many of his more politically prominent opponents, yet he easily defeated them all. Still, the pundits don’t get it.
As an open-air campus preacher, I understand Donald Trump. Much of the criticism of my ministry comes from the Christian community, who should supportive. They say, “Just preach the gospel. We have been listening all day and have not heard the name of Jesus once. Stick to the Bible. Don’t talk about politics, economics, philosophy, psychology, etc.”
   The fact is that I do regularly refer to the death and resurrection of Jesus. I repeatedly declare that Jesus is the only way to salvation. The problem is students have ears, but they hear not. They cannot handle it when we smash their intellectual idols and convict their consciences with the power of the Holy Ghost.
   Virtually daily Trump makes seemingly outrageous statements. We preachers are daily accused of being offensive. We mock unbelievers so called life-styles and worldly values. To an extent we are showman. We do not have a captive audience like the professors but at least we do have the ear of the students. With our confrontational style of evangelism, we force the Christian community further and further into the background of irrelevance. They are losing their small corner. They accuse me, “You are ruining everything we have been working for all year.” Their work is peaceful coexistence with humanism and secularism.
   Trump dominates the media. Meanwhile, Hillary stays in the background afraid to duel it out with Trump, which is wise on her part since she does not come near having his charisma. And her message is without substance. It is the same old, same old, from the Obama years and the same socialist’s stuff going back to her husband’s administration with all the scandals. Trump has a new and refreshing message that captures the attention of the populace. “I will build the wall and make Mexico pay for it!”
Trump has to go it alone or so it seems. I have been going it alone for over four decades. Neither one of us are actually alone. Both of us have our supporters but they are unseen. There is a definite method to our apparent madness. But men refuse to see it. They do not want to believe what we say. Trump is a threat to the established order of both political parties. We are a threat to the university because if what we say is true, then most of what is being taught at the university is false.
   Sister Cindy and I understand that the gospel includes freedom from sin. Christians on campus share a gospel that forgives sin but does not set free from the power and dominion of sin. They hate this aspect of Christ’s message, which is the core of his message. When Trump speaks both the politicians and media are worked into a frenzy. He says what no one else dares to say. What he says seems outrageous but in reality it is not. It is so offensive because the abnormal has become the normal in our society and especially on college campuses. Neither Trump nor I accept the politically correct thinking of this generation whether in be in the general society or the church.
When I preach, the sinners and professing Christians are emotionally agitated and rarely engage us intellectually. Just as neither the media nor Hillary will rationally engage the man so loudly sounding the political trumpet.
   I could and I may give further explanation of why I say Trump is a man after my own heart. Since the primaries the politicians and pundits reluctantly admit that Trump’s tactics worked for the primaries but will not work for the general election. We shall see. The campaign is just getting started. “You ain’t seen nor heard nothin’ yet.” Trump is a master at communication. He is a unique in the history of American politics.

PRESIDENT TRUMP, JACKSON’S SPIRITUAL HEIR

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   In 1927, Gerald W. Johnson wrote, “Andrew Jackson: An Epic in Homespun.” After reading the following excepts from Johnson’s biography of Jackson, one will understand why President Trump identifies with “Old Hickory” and the General’s portrait is in the most conspicuous place in the Oval Office. I recognized Trump early as Jackson’s “spiritual heir” and aligned myself with this “superman.”
   “In so far as Jackson is concerned, it is difficult even for a sentimentalist to pump up any great moral indignation in his behalf. History perhaps never selected for an unjust burden shoulders better able to bear it. In life the General thrived on criticism; and since his death the damnation pronounced upon his reputation by countless learned clerks has not been able to bear it down.
   The man is a poplar hero in the strictest sense of the word. He is the hero of the people, not of the intelligentsia. The people still delight in the legends of his prowess, of his lurid language, of his imperious and dictatorial temper. The tale of his usurpations does not appall them, but delights them, for Americans have always loved a really masterful man. If Jackson’s spiritual heir should appear now, there is every reason to believe America of the twentieth century would hail him as rapturously and follow him as blindly as it hailed and followed the hero a hundred years ago.
   Therefore he remains a significant figure. His faults stand out with startling vividness. His errors are plain to the purblind. His weaknesses are obvious, his follies patent, his egregiousness inescapable. But the man will not collapse. His fame is still dear to the hearts of the people, therefore the prudent man will search diligently for some residuum after the faults, errors and follies have been taken into account. For if another appears with such qualities, even handicaps as gigantic as those under which Jackson labored cannot prevent his sweep to power. And the wise men of that day will be those who recognize him early and align themselves with him, rather than against him. It is this that gives him a severely practical significance in the century that has succeeded his own.
   But to the impractical idealist, to the dilettante, to the curious seeker after the bizarre, the quaint, the colorful, Jackson makes a powerful an appeal as to the student of public affairs. For he was above all else vivid. He was a great actor and on the national scene he staged the most gorgeous, colorful and romantic show in American history.
It is said to be an accepted dictum in the theatrical world that if you can work into our play of three hour’s length just thirty seconds during which the spectator will sit on the edge of his seat while the hair rises on the back of his neck, our success is assured, no matter what fills up the rest of the time. Jackson gave the country such moments. It is no wonder that his performance was an immense success, greeted with applause that has come rolling down the years to the ears of a generation living a century and after the curtain first rose.
   In the popular estimation, he was already a man set apart so far from ordinary mortals as to be quite unpredictable. Andrew kicked away the existing political system and substituted one more to his liking. Probability did not apply to Jackson. He conformed to no known rules. He was a monster or a demigod, but not by any chance a man.
And so to a large extent he has since remained. Yet to the student who makes even a superficial examination of the record of his life it is apparent that few men who have figured largely in public affairs have exhibited more conspicuously the traits common to all humanity, both the worst and the best. Jackson was intensely human. It is merely the intensity of his humanity, indeed, that has given rise to the legends of a superman.
   Affection for Andrew Jackson is impossible to avoid if one knows his story; for let his enemies say what they will, here was one American who carried himself with an air unlettered, uncouth, unskilled in the graces of polite society, but none the less a chevalier.”

The Lord of the Dance

When the Trumps arrived at the Inaugural Ball, the President said, “We did it. We began this journey and they said … we didn’t have a chance but we knew we were going to win and we won.”

The pundits predicted that Hillary would waltz to the Presidency. But to her shock, she was not even asked to the big dance.

Instead at Inaugural Ball, the Trumps danced to Frank Sinatra’s greatest hit, “My Way.” And the President mouthed some of the words, while he held Melania’s hand near his heart.

Indeed, he did it his way, when the establishment of the Republican Party, the Democrats, and the pundits repeatedly said to the very end, “He can’t do it this way!”

And more, much more than this

I did it my way.

“He can’t accuse Mexicans of being murderers, rapists, drug dealers and get the nomination. Trump will implode with his own words. He doesn’t have a ground game. He doesn’t have the organization. He’s not a conservative. He is not mentally sound. He is not Presidential. He throws temper tantrums on Twitter.”

I did what I had to do

And saw it through without exception

They predicted, “His candidacy went from boom to bust when he criticized McCain for being captured during the Vietnam War. He can’t question and oppose Bush’s war in Iraq and expect to be the party’s standard bearer. He can’t make fun of a handicapped man; it will finish him.”

I planned each charted course

Each careful step along the byway

Oh, and more, much more than this

I did it my way

Each week it was something new during the Primaries, then in the General Election, that was bound to bring about the end of his run but he kept gaining in the opinion polls and winning primaries.

They said, “What worked in the primaries will never work in the General Election.” When he received the nomination, the pundits were all saying he had to pivot, but he never did.

“He can’t attack a five- star family and expect to be president. He cannot say the crude things he has said about women and win.

“He can’t build the wall! He can’t make Mexico pay for it! He can’t prevent Muslims from entering the country. He can’t drain the swamp. There is no way for him to get the necessary electoral votes; he has no path to the presidency. The reality is that leaders in the Republican Party know he can’t win.”

Tonight, his opponents were all still in shock, months after his election when the lord of the Ball danced with his wife.

For what is a man, what has he got

If not himself, then he has not

To say the things he truly feels

And not the words he would reveal

The record shows I took the blows

And did it my way

He proved all his enemies wrong in every instance. He did it; he did it his way! He became lord of the biggest dance in “the free world.”

For I am the lord of the dance, said he

And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be

And I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he.