Tennis Balls and The Wet Paper Ceiling
Will any of our leaders step up and stir our souls again?
I’ll confess. I’m angry. I’m fed up. I’m emotional. I’m tired of half measures and popcorn bucket solutions with fancy graphics and shallow bottoms.
And that was before the leader of the free world was attacked by a sandbag without using his tennis ball footed walker, and people celebrated “only” holding 24.5 trillion dollars in debt.
Full transparency. I’m not a politician nor am I a professional athlete. Therefore, I can’t say for certain what caused those two pivot points this past week. But I am a police officer. I am a husband. I am a father. I am a pastor. And I am a citizen. From those lenses I absolutely can editorialize. Here is why any of what you are about to read matters: the real issue is not the real issue.
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“On July 20, 1944, Adolf Hitler and senior Nazi military officers met at the Wolf’s Lair in Rastenburg, Eastern Prussia. As the Nazi military leaders took their seats to discuss troop movements on the Eastern Front, an explosion ripped through the humid conference room — and, through the thick black smoke, Hitler’s body was seen strewn across the table. The Führer was dead, and Europe was potentially freed from the Nazi scourge. Or so it initially seemed.
For a brief moment in history, Claus von Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators thought they had succeeded in turning the tide of World War II and potentially saving thousands of additional lives. Unfortunately, the most well-known assassination plot on Hitler’s life, popularly known as the July Plot or Operation Valkyrie, proved unsuccessful for reasons that could have been avoided, and others that are unexplained to this day.” - Time (July 19, 2019)
As stated, there were a host of factors which collaborated together to sabotage the efforts of those who sought to assassinate Adolph Hitler that day. So many people had boldly stood together - and died together - in a valiant attempt to rid the world of an evil measured only in biblical terms. And even with all the went wrong, the assassination plot was almost successful. It lives on in perpetuity as one of the most valiant collaborations to stand up for other people against raw aggression ever.
I have the privilege to have a close friend who worked for me years ago that is now a Secret Service agent on protection detail. Over the years I have asked about the advances and the planning that goes into a protectee’s movements. It’s intense. I’ll save the specifics but understand that almost every single catastrophic situation is gamed out and solved before anything occurs. Traffic is shut down or redirected, airspace is restricted, ground units have embedded in the area and interfaced with local law enforcement, and every person within the primary designated area has been vetted and identified. Having led my agency’s counter-protest unit through two Super Bowls, I can attest to the highest level of security that is in place when a President moves anywhere. Every contingency is planned for, and if something happens the Service will collapse on the President and IMMEDIATELY exfil from the area.
And with all of that preparation, we have a president that was almost assassinated on July 1st at the Air Force Academy graduation by a sneaky sandbag that must have jumped out to attack him at the right moment. Yup, our President at one of the bastions of nobility in our military tripped and fell on a sandbag after giving a diploma.
The Good Old Days
What’s the real issue? I remember seeing this picture in a doctor’s office as a small boy over forty years ago. I saw it again recently and it reminded me that regardless of all the technological advances that serve and wow us (Apple just released an AI augmented reality headset that can stream movies in 4K resolution to each eye…for $3000.00 dollars) the fundamental ethics and values which carried our country through the tumultuous times still exists.
And the tumultuous times are worse now than they were back then.
Yes, I see nobility echoed through the actions and service of our law enforcement, fire fighters, and military troops. And I am reminded that a majority of our country is For the Blue (thank you to Paula Fitzsimmons and her substack. Subscribe and be greatly encouraged as I am every time she writes.) But the echoes are starting to get drowned out by the loud, obnoxious air horn of those groups seeking to destabilize our country completely. Forget the good old days. They are actively working for the Great Reset. This is the main issue. Everything else going on is a pathway for the end game. As in, resetting our country to a refracted prism of what it was built on to maximize governmental control, be subservient to Big Business, and to joyful abdicate our personal freedoms and liberties in the cause of socialism. Welcome to 2023.
Patrisse Khan-Cullors (Marxist founder of Black Lives Matter) is even creating distance from this movement. What does that say? I mean, how bad does the promise of left-leaning socialism have to be to cause this to occur? You can almost hear Vladimir Lenin saying, “Nyet, comrade, that’s a bit far.”
Surprisingly Weak Foundations
Growing up as the oldest of four boys, I was always coming up with some scheme to entertain everyone while causing my parents their daily output of gray hair. One of the best was when I discovered that I could use soft and flexible construction material (cases of toilet paper) to completely enclose a fort in the backyard. It was completely secure with at least twenty rolls used. I was so proud of myself. My parents were less excited to be sure. My dad told me that would never hold up to the demands of the real-world, but as an 8-year-old I wasn’t too bought in on his dad-logic. I remember showing him I could put books and games and toys on the fake shelves I made and on the roof to demonstrate how sturdy it was. My dad looked up at the cloudy sky, smiled, and told me one last time I should not leave important things in my Hooverville shanty and then went inside.
An hour later it was raining, and my fort was destroyed. The real-world had applied a little inclement weather and shown me immediately the wisdom of experience my dad was trying to show me. Imagine the picture of the dark thunderclouds in my mind when Speaker of the House McCarthy compromised on the debt ceiling bill recently passed. We have a current 24.5 trillion-dollar national debt and remain precariously balanced on the edges of a downgraded worldwide credit rating, national insolvency, and an economy barely scraping by. Truly, something needed to be done. And I’ll leave the economic analysis to Thomas Sowell and others I greatly respect.
But when I consider this is the third time in the Biden presidency where our country has faced ultimatums on our debt, all I can think about is what happened when the toilet paper got wet. This debt ceiling agreement the way the Speaker explained it is a confluence of reduced spending and acceptable blistering. Again, I am only commenting out of my lane because this issue dramatically affects the policing efforts in America. Any agreement that knowingly advocates the continued can kicking while ignoring the “ceiling” by simply increasing it, doesn’t seem to be responsible. And the cops are the ones tasked with quelling disturbances at gas stations when unleaded is looking to run over $5 a gallon soon. Again, I’m no economist but when I was first married and had some money, my wife and I felt it would be a great idea to lease expensive cars - every two to three years - for six or seven years. The balloon payment kept getting rolled into the financing of the next vehicle (while we kept a low monthly payment) until finally common sense and foresight came back and we recognized we had to stop the madness and just pay what was due. And it hurt. And we survived. And learned a huge lesson on personal financial management. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Never spend money before you have it.” He would be dancing in his grave like he was at a Taylor Swift amnesia-causing concert if he saw (1) our country’s financial picture today, (2) the corruption of our national morality, and (3) the antithetical path walking away from the established foundation of faith in God we are running down today.
Keep your eyes open. The Bible references the “wonderfully magnificent thing” the Lord was going to do…as he wiped out entire civilizations. After this week, I see wonderfully magnificent storm clouds on the horizon with Uncle Sam holding a Charmin umbrella. And it doesn’t matter if the president struggles to find someone on the Kansas City Chiefs to shake hands with, it still is going in a bad direction. Truly, God help us.
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Sergeant Daukas is committed to the principles of Courageous Leadership and is the lead instructor for the foundational principle of Courageous Nobility. You can listen to Jeff discuss this vital principle on a recent Courageous Leadership Podcast. He has over 20 years in law-enforcement working through patrol, investigations, and special operations both at the line level and as a supervisor. Through the last 20 years, Jeff has embraced his passion instructing officers and civilians through the nobility of policing. He is a certified FranklinCovey Nobility of Policing instructor, as well as a certified instructor for the Blue Courage curriculum. Jeff holds a master’s degree in criminal justice with a focus on terrorism and homeland security and teaches in that discipline at the college level. He is a graduate of the FBI-LEEDA Supervisor Leadership Institute program consistently implementing servant-leadership into training the next generation of law-enforcement professionals in both courageous leadership and followership.