Remembrance

By Dr. Jim Ferguson

Memories are strange things. My wife Becky can recall the relationships of friends and family down to a third cousin once removed. And I can recall the Hebrew kings of the Bible and the history of Ancient Greece and Rome. Arguably, this may be somewhat of a “man thing” because women are by nature more nurturing and in tune with all connectional relationships of family and friends. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that we all have “gifts differing.”

In my Sunday school class we’re reading a book and series about Jesus Christ by John Ortberg called “Who Is This Man?” I can heartily recommend the book’s excellent prose and compelling story of the most influential person in history. At one point, Ortberg recalled the old Disney song “It’s a Small World” which took me back in time to consider memories. (I’ll bet you’re now having trouble getting this irritating song out of your mind!)

I once read a scientific paper which said memories are most easily imprinted in the mind when associated with smells or sex. From an evolutionary perspective, I can imagine this might confer some survival benefit. Anatomically, the olfactory nerve which transmits smell enters the brain in a region known as the amygdala and hippocampus. And since this area of the brain processes neural inputs and then projects the signals to various other areas, it is understandable why smells are associated with memory imprinting.

Personally, I think Disney’s song “stinks.” I would love to delete the song from my memory; I can do this with useless computer files. And apparently, so would Ortberg and everyone in my Sunday school class. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the human brain works differently than a computer memory chip or electronic circuitry.

When we learn skills or memorize something those memories are formed by making new neural connections in the brain. Electrical wiring done by an electrician usually does not short-circuit. And formed neural connections don’t break down in the absence of disease. Once you’ve learned an irritating song or how to ride a bicycle, you don’t forget.

In my church we often recite the Apostles’ Creed, first used in the late 4th century A.D. Like millions of other Christians I have committed this foundational statement of beliefs to memory. We sometimes use other statements of faith and recently we used a “modern affirmation“ which reads “we are kept in perpetual remembrance of the truth of Christ” by the Holy Spirit.

America’s Independence Day is more than a day on July 4th each year for barbecue, watermelon and fireworks. It should be a day of remembrance of the “toils and tears and treasure” expended to produce the unparalleled freedom and prosperity in the United States. As a friend’s father, General Stillwell, once said, “Freedom is not free.”

Like rituals in church, national celebrations help us to focus and remember our heritage. And I needed a dose of patriotism! The litany of negativism by the media and Democrats denigrating President Trump, the military, and the police wears on the soul of a “deplorable” like me. The New York Times says America is not great, it’s just “OK,” though people are dying trying to come here. I’m not aware of thousands trying to cross the border into Venezuela, Russia, China or North Korea. The “cultural jihadists” spit in the face of citizens, threaten bakers and companies like Nike, and make the streets of Portland, Oregon unsafe by allowing anarchists like antifa a free pass.

In 1924 a man in prison wrote a book and formulated the notion of the “big lie.” Stated simply, a lie told boldly and often enough will cause people to believe the lie because the common man cannot imagine such duplicity. The author of the book was Adolf Hitler and his book was “Mein Kamph.”

Trump made Independence Day July 4, 2019 special for me. Admittedly, in other years I have given lip service in remembrance of our national heritage and the sacrifices of others. President Trump is indefatigable and resolute in his opposition to the “new Democrat” Party’s socialism, intolerance, and assault on Americanism. Perhaps our President should be more genteel in his Tweets, but Jesus had harsh non-PC rhetoric for hypocrites and the elitist ruling class of his day (Matthew 23).

In his speech before the Virginia assembly in 1775, Thomas Paine had harsh words for those unwilling to sacrifice. Paine was a patriot who knew that appeasement of wrong does not make the world safe. And America finds herself in troubled waters with nuclearization of Iran, hegemonic aspirations of Russia and China, and the “little rocket man” of North Korea who has nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them. All of these players are emboldened by our political strife in the once United States of America.

My “trash” reading is science fiction. I recall a SF yarn entitled “Old Man’s War,” where futuristic technology afforded “seasoned citizens” new bodies paid for by military service on distant planets. If they survived their tour of duty, the rejuvenated seniors got to live out the life of their new bodies. Obviously, a far-fetched scenario, but it strikes me as more reasonable than sending 18 year olds around the world to die for neocon or elite globalist aspirations.

In 1900 the progressive Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt, said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” As I have said before, President Trump was not my first or second choice, but he was infinitely superior to Hillary Clinton, and I have come to appreciate his dogged resistance to anti-Americanism. I sometimes wish he would speak more softly, but I voted for Trump to oppose the status quo of Washington.

A dozen years ago a friend asked me to name the branches of the US government. Obviously, this was a trick question because everyone knows there are three branches – executive, legislative and judicial. However, he argued for a fourth branch, the administrative state also known as the deep state.

I now realize my friend was right, and so is Trump to oppose this vast network of unelected denizens of the Washington swamp. Trump is right to oppose the elitist establishment, the dishonest media and those who think they know better than We the People.

 

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