“This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today….”
–David Bowie, 1969
… “Major” Tom Sabella here. Recently, some of my readers have asked me to tell them a little about myself. So I will. But it may not be the typical “bio” you’re expecting. It’s much more a glimpse into “the real me”, which I believe is mostly found in my inner convictions. For what is the measure of a man or woman if not who they are at the core of their being? So here’s a bit of mine ….
“And The Stars Look Very Different Today”
I think I know David Bowie’s feelings. When I “step through my own door”, EVERYTHING “looks very different today”. And “in a most peculiar way”. For example:
Very recently, someone had a Great BIG BIRTHDAY! —AND IT WAS US! (“Us”, as in “You & Me”. “US”, as in, “U.S.”, as in “U.S.A.”) Yes, as the fireworks burst in mid-air, America celebrated her 244th birthday. The very establishment of this great nation, where we all take for granted to varying degrees the privileges, rights, freedoms, and history of living here. But not all was celebratory on the western front Or eastern. Or in between.
At 6:30 on the morning of the 5th, I woke to read the online news. From around the internet, headlines read: • “Baltimore rioters tear down [Christopher] Columbus statue, toss it into the harbor”; • “Far Left Activists Burn American Flag Near White House: ‘America Was Never Great’ “; • “Media Outlets Describe Trump’s Rushmore Speech As ‘Dark And Divisive’ “; • “CNN Reduces Mt. Rushmore to a ‘Monument of Two Slave Holders’ “; • “97,000 People Sign Petition to Replace Columbus Statue with Tribute to Black Trans Icon”; • “Lincoln Statues Must Go. Margaret Sanger Stays?”; and finally, • “Kaepernick on July Fourth: ‘We reject your celebration of white supremacy’ “
On the other side of the aisle, headlines read: • “With inflammatory July 4 message, Trump detracts from the real threat”; • “Trump’s Mt. Rushmore political stunt makes a mockery of indigenous pain”; • “American pride falls to a record low, poll shows”; • “Black Lives Matter is America’s ray of light this Independence Day”; and • “Gettysburg reckons with Confederacy symbols”.
In between, in mainstream Christian churches, • the Presbyterian Church USA takes a pro-choice stand on abortion; • the United Methodist Church is running banner ads against racism (while apparently ignoring ones on riots & violence); • and a segment of the Lutheran Church ELCA proudly published an “authorized” (“official”??) version of The Holy Bible in which they’ve eliminated the [politically abhorrent!!!!] word “Israel”.
Meanwhile, across the pond, Boris Johnson came down with COVID a couple months ago. And it was serious. At his hospitalization, the world feared he might die, and Great Britain went into watchful vigil. With his recovery, they cheered. But immediately, countrymen turned violently against him. –His infraction? On June 14, he had dared to address the conflict about tearing down the statue of Winston Churchill in London’s Parliament Square. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister stated, “We need to attack the substance of the problem [of racism], not the symbols.” And, “Would it not be better and more honest to ask our children to understand the context, to explain the mixture of good and bad in the career of Churchill and everyone else?” And finally, ” I will resist with every breath in my body any attempt to remove that statue [of Churchill] from Parliament Square.”
–Yes, everything DOES look EXCEEDINGLY different today.
• Yesterday: Abraham Lincoln was the great. American hero who abolished slavery. Today: Lincoln is a superior, racist, white supremacist who only freed the slaves because he “had” to.
• Yesterday: George Washington was The Father Of Our Country, who also led America against all odds to victory in the American Revolution. Today: Washington is nothing but another white supremacist, a slave-holder, and an interloper on native American soil.
• Yesterday: Christopher Columbus was the credited discoverer of the New World, who helped usher Europe into the Renaissance & Age Of Discovery. Today: Columbus is the destroyer of the land he infringed upon and the killer of its indigenous people, while his successors enslaved Africans.
• Yesterday: Winston Churchill was the great British Prime Minister who bolstered the British and seriously helped the WWII Allies defeat Hitler. Today: Churchill is a man to be despised because he held racist views.
To which I say: Yes, there were flaws in history’s human beings who did great things. There are flaws in human beings today who do great things. But is that a surprise? Isn’t that part of what “human beings” are? “Flawed”? In my book (i.e., “The Good Book”), you can find the truth of that right in Chapter One. It’s called “Genesis”. And the evidence is called “Original Sin”.
At the same time, even a flawed person CAN accomplish great things. And become an actual hero. –But to TOTALLY & COMPLETELY discount ONE aspect of a Total Person is equally as bad as discounting the other!
And that’s the practice we need to employ as Americans – E Pluribus Unum. To teach our children both. Both our heroes’ flaws (our nation’s flaws) and our heroes’ accomplishments (our nation’s accomplishments). That is the REAL lesson we can teach them. That people can do great things, but that they are still flawed, by their very nature. Even The Lord’s Word says so. But we must teach our children to REACH TOWARD “Accomplishment”, while simultaneously SHUNNING FROM the “Flaws”. The Bible pretty much says that too. (And even Jesus did. Remember the words “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”?)
Winston Churchill: A Hero With Flaws
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965). Author of 37 books. Writer & orator of 700 speeches, covering 8 written volumes. British Secretary of State – for War / for Air / and for The Colonies (each, separately). Commissioned military officer. British First Lord Of The Admiralty. British Prime Minister from 1940-1945 & 1951-1955. Member of Parliament from 1900-1964. Head-Of-State who led Britain to Allied victory over Adolph Hitler in World War II (1940-1945). Recipient of the Literary Nobel Peace Prize. Invested into Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II (1953).
But also a man with flaws. He made many public racially-slanted comments, and about many races. Like so many of his contemporaries, he was a product of his time. That doesn’t mean he was a “racist” by the standards of his time. It means today’s standards called “racism” WERE the standards of his time. That is NOT an excuse; it IS simple fact. Churchill was a believer in the hierarchy of the races, and briefly believed in race-eugenics (but so did H.G. Wells, Theodore Roosevelt, Oliver Wendell Holmes, NAACP-founder W.E.B. DuBois, Margaret Sanger; and many, many others). He had contempt for many Arabs – although his beliefs primarily centered around his disdain for the Islam religion. Today, he would be called an “Islamaphobe”. But in HIS day, he opposed the spread of a religion he saw as dangerous & radical. (Even Thomas Jefferson & John Adams fought radical Islam in The Barbary Wars, from 1801-1815. –But oh; I forgot: Jefferson’s statues should all come down too … although … on the other hand, wasn’t he the guy that wrote our proclamation of freedom from England (i.e., Declaration of Independence)? And sent out Lewis & Clark? And declared America’s Manifest Destiny? And procured The Louisiana Purchase? And gave us “Macaroni & Cheese”? And founded William & Mary College? And believed in Separation of Church & State? (But that’s right; he was a slave owner, so he was EVIL!)
(By the way, in The Barbary Wars, US Marines went to “Tripoli” [today’s coastal Libya], wherein the first-ever raising of a victorious US battle flag on foreign soil – they derived the phrase “to the shores of Tripoli” in their national hymn … and also from whence the Marine nickname “leathernecks” arose since they wore leather-collared uniforms to keep from being beheaded by Muslims in battle.
Lastly, The Barbary Wars resulted from U.S. refusal to continue paying the ransom to Islamic “Barbary” [collective nations of Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco, & Algiers] pirates capturing U.S. trade ships – ransom amounting to 20% of total annual U.S. revenue. When Jefferson & Adams heard Tripoli’s Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja say that Islam “was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran that all nations [not acknowledging its] authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise” … and when even George Washington warned against continuing ransom payments, Tripoli cut down the American embassy’s flagpole and declared war on the U.S. –150 years before Churchill, & 200 years before September 11, 2001. [A friend’s daughter calls this “propaganda”. I call it “American History”.])
(One more point: Today, between 2005 & 2018, at least 250 vessels of ALL types [fishing boats; yachts; barges; tugs; cruise ships; oil tankers; destroyers] – under the flag of DOZENS of countries, with at least 14 under U.S. flag – were captured or attacked by Somali pirates. In 2011 alone, 1,206 hostages were held by pirates. Some captives have been tortured, starved, murdered, used as human shields, or held up to 2 years. Generally, ransom is demanded in high-denomination, untraceable U.S. dollars. Total “known” ransom demanded has exceeded $1/4-BILLION – with “unknown” amounts in MANY cases. In 2017, the US Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network determined that the pirates are funded by expatriate Somalis & Emiratis in Dubai, UAE – & funds are channeled to leave no written or electronic footprint. The US Department of State 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom: Somalia states: ” The provisional federal constitution (PFC) provides for the right of individuals to practice their religion, makes Islam the state religion, prohibits the propagation of any religion other than Islam, and stipulates all laws must comply with the general principles of sharia.”)
Anyway, yes, Churchill did denounce Islam. But he held great support for Judaism & the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel, as well as strong personal anti-Semitism. While it is true that he privately disparaged the people of India (and, again, greatly disliked Hinduism), he also vehemently condemned as “terrorism” the military slaughter of 400 Indian protestors. Yes, he did call the Chinese “a barbaric nation” – but here is his context: “I think we shall have to take the Chinese in hand and regulate them. I believe that as civilized nations become more powerful [the Chinese] will get more ruthless, and the time will come when the world will impatiently bear the existence of great barbaric nations who may at any time arm themselves and menace civilized nations.” FYI: in 1949, China became a Communist country. Since 2013, they have dredged up some 3,000 acres of the South China Sea, to make & fully militarize artificial islands there. China or its companies produce 97% of US antibiotics; 80% of US pharmaceutical ingredients; 70% of global acetaminophen [think “Tylenol”]; export to USA an annual $4.6 billion in agricultural products (2017); routinely steal US technology & fund American university researchers to steal it for them; are eager to build “spy-easy” 5G networks across our nation; own 246,000 acres of prime USA farmland (2019); own $1.1 trillion of USA debt (2020); own a controlling majority in nearly 2,400 large US companies – including at least some of AMC Entertainment, G.E., IBM, Motorola, Teledyne, & Smithfield Meats. And by law, Chinese companies are required to share information with The Communist Chinese Party. Lastly, not only has China been deceptively secretive & misinformational about the latest coronavirus & its governmental relationship to WHO, and not only has it been conniving in its supplying many countries with COVID PPEs, but China also has a notorious reputation for being the actual origin of several world-wide diseases (Asian Flu; Bird Flu; SARS; Hong Kong Flu; [possibly] The 1918 Spanish Flu; and Covid-19). So was Churchill all racist? Or at least partly prophetic?
I could cite many other examples, but the point is: the jury’s still out on the extent of Churchill’s racism. So do your own research. And be sure to examine ALL the evidence.
President Trump’s National Garden Of American Heroes
On July 3, 2020, President Donald Trump stood in front of the great Mount Rushmore, which – until mere short weeks ago – was a majestic symbol of national pride and tribute to 4 heroic Americans: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. There, in an early 4th-Of-July celebration, the President announced his Executive Order establishing America’s National Garden Of American Heroes, signed that day. The Executive Order itself begins with:
“Purpose. America owes its present greatness to its past sacrifices. Because the past
is always at risk of being forgotten, monuments will always be needed to honor those
who came before. Since the time of our founding, Americans have raised monuments
to our greatest citizens….In our public parks and plazas, we have erected statues of great
Americans who, through acts of wisdom and daring, built and preserved for us a republic
of ordered liberty.
“These statues are silent teachers in solid form of stone and metal. They preserve
the memory of our American story and stir in us a spirit of responsibility for the chapters
yet unwritten. [They] call forth gratitude for the accomplishments and sacrifices of our
exceptional fellow citizens who, despite their flaws, placed their virtues, their talents, and
their lives in the service of our Nation. These monuments express our noblest ideals:
respect for our ancestors, love of freedom, and striving for a more perfect union….In
preserving them, we show reverence for our past, we dignify our present, and we inspire those
who are to come.”
And the National Garden will include (among others) statues of “John Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Daniel Boone, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Henry Clay, Davy Crockett, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Franklin, Billy Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Douglas MacArthur, Dolley Madison, James Madison, Christa McAuliffe, Audie Murphy, George S. Patton, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Jackie Robinson, Betsy Ross, Anton in Scalia, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.”The President’s entire speech that night was filled with this kind of sentiment, and sentiments akin to it. Yet, this is the thinking many, many Americans (and members of the media) saw & see as • “dark & divisive”; • “a celebration of white supremacy”; • a “political stunt”; • “a mockery of indigenous pain”.
Why? How? How is this even possible? In AMERICA?!
To recall David Bowie, “the stars CERTAINLY DO look very different today”.
Churchill & July, 2020
–But let’s go back to Winston Churchill. For all his “FLAWS”, he was indeed a great man. And below is what he said in one of his 700 speeches – this one, among his most remembered, and given to London’s famous Harrow School. (Just in case you don’t know, founded in 1572, by Royal Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I.) Harrow was Churchill’s alma mater; he had attended from 1888-1892. There, he had won swimming & fencing competitions; learned rifling; been in the Honor Guard for one “Princess Louise”; memorized 1,200 lines of Thomas Macaulay’s Lays Of Ancient Rome; prepared himself for the military; and – according to the International Churchill Society – “was compelled to stand on his own feet, and to make his way in the world by his own exertions”. – But now, it was October 29, 1941. He’d turn 67 in a month-&-a-day. He’d been England’s Prime Minister for a year, and that’s about how long Hitler had been bombing his homeland. His Homeland. His England. And London. … And could he know; could he even suspect that, on this day – the very day of his speech – Hitler’s SS would also be carrying out one of Europe’s bloodiest days?: The Kaunas Massacre of Lithuanian Jews – of 2,007 men; 2,920 women; and 4,273 children? –No, Churchill probably didn’t know that right then, but here is the immortal quote from his speech:
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing,
great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of
honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the overwhelming
might of the enemy.”
–But what does that mean to us today, in early July of 2020? First, flaws & all, leave his darned statue alone! (And every other piece of global history so vicious & recklessly maligned today!) But more importantly, remember his advice: NEVER GIVE IN.
Today is a time when everyone is in fear. In fear of – or in revolt against – everything or everyone else. We’re terrified of COVID-19. Afraid of going outdoors without a mask. Afraid to hug or shake hands. Worried about visiting elderly parents. Scared to touch a can of soup at the store. Or let our children attend school. Or leave our own homes. Or even be in Church!
Downtown, we’re afraid to even drive there. Get caught in a police-protestor fray. Say the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time. Or wear the wrong hat. Or tee-shirt. We’re afraid we’ll get hit with a molotov cocktail. On the State Capitol steps no less! It’s all running amuck; unchecked in downtowns big-&-small across the land, and across the world. Like runaway trains before our eyes.
So we barricade ourselves indoors, in our own homes, like we’re told to. Like the obedient little peons we apparently really are. And there, we turn on our TVs. Where we’re told we’re going to die. From a virus. One exacerbated by either the entire Communist Party of China … or The President Of The United States (depending on the channel you’re watching). And we’re berated for the color of our skin – no matter what that color happens to be. And at the same time we’re being told we’re going to die from COVID, we’re also told that only certain lives matter anyway. And that ours may or may not be one of them. (But if you’re wearing a badge, it’s not.)
Well, I will undoubtedly be castigated for this entire article, but THIS NOT WHAT OUR COUNTRY WAS BUILT ON. THIS IS NOT THE AMERICA THAT IS AMERICA. This America has become God-less, egotistical, lewd & promiscuous, self-centered, foul-mouthed, hate-filled, rage-infested, me-first-&-me-only. Seeping further & further into our culture. And lives. Like an evil infestation. Every day. That we’re sometimes even numb to. And it is a sin against both our Creator AND our Founders.
… But take heart. N\either should we over-worry about it. For we’re not the ones in control. Not in the overall scheme of things. (Regardless of your personal beliefs on the existence or non-existence of the Deep State.)
As I sit here writing, I KNOW who is in control. And it is my God. And I know where I will put my head to rest for the last time. And the color of my skin won’t matter then; and the cause of my death won’t matter; and the logo on my tee-shirt won’t either. Only one thing will. And that One Thing is the source of my comfort today.
That’s why Winston Churchill was right: NEVER give in. EVER. Never yield to force, or to the overwhelming might of your enemies. Even if – unthinkably! – those enemies are some of your very own countrymen. –Because GOD is the One in control. And He’s got The Plan.
We also need to remember this: Followers of Christ are to be “in” the world – not “of” the world. That’s a major part of NEVER giving in. The world is going berserk all around us! ACTUALLY LITERALLY! The craziness is crazier than ever imaginable. And the disobedience to God is more rampant than I ever thought possible. It’s like the whole planet itself is becoming Sodom & Gomorrah on steroids! –But we are NOT to be. Because the Rules Of The Lord are constant. They NEVER change. And here again, God’s own Word says so:
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Matt.24:35)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb.13:8)
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O Children of Jacob, are not consumed (Mal.3:6)
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.” (Is.40:8)
“The counsel of the Lord stands forever; the plans of his heart to all generations.” (Ps.33:11)
“Forever, O Lord, your Word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” (Ps.119:89)
NEVER give in. To the world. Because God never changes. He is constant, and his RuleBook is firm. Follow HIS rules, not this world’s.
Another critical thought I keep repeating mentally is the Bible verse from Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Being “in” the world but not “of” it – NEVER giving in to it … and NEVER giving up to it – they ain’t easy! For sure! But where & how we’re able to achieve it is through the strength of Christ.
Over & over, every day, Christ gives me His strength. Every time I’m discouraged … and everytime I begin to be beaten down by the very conditions that, today, we simply call “everyday life”. –It is the strength of Christ – and tightly grasping onto His Cross for it – that keep me from despair, and give me all the hope I need to help to see me through.
* * *
So, to my readers who wanted to know a little about me, there ya have it. I am Tom Sabella. I am first & foremost a Christian. I am a husband, and a father, and a grandfather. I am an American & a patriot, and proud of it. I founded this website and, together with partners & contributors, I operate it.
On the personal side, sure, I’ve had a few tough bridges to cross: • A close family member spent a heart-breaking 18 years as a drug addict; • we had a fire in our home which destroyed everything we owned, and we had to start from scratch just a few years ago; • and in Nashville’s great flood of 2010, we had a devastating 4 1/2-ft. of standing water in our home we’d just recently rebuilt after the fire. –But every time, with every tragedy, we overcame our adversity, and we came out victorious. –And there was One Reason we did: And His name is Almighty God.
So as you walk through your own Journey Of Life – as well as through your journey in the Music Business – and you seem to have hit a brick wall … or a bunch of them … or feel that the world is just caving in on you (as it probably will occasionally):
• Remember to stay healthy.
• NEVER, EVER Give In. And
• Let GOD Do The Heavy Lifting For You.
Till next time,
Major Tom, Over-&-Out
Sources Used In This Article:
07/05/20 internet headlines from: Fox News; Daily Wire; Red State; The Hill; CNN; MSNBC; CBS, WKBN; The Washington Post (07/03/20).
The Holy Bible
07/05/20 internet headlines from: Fox News; Daily Wire; Red State; The Hill; CNN; MSNBC; CBS, WKBN; The Washington Post (07/03/20).