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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  July 15, 2011
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Topic category:  Government/Politics

Patriotic Laura Ingraham's "Old School" Mom Would Be Proud of "Zing" and Her "Zinger"...John Adams Too

If Ingraham's mom wasn't saving for her daughter's college education and cell phones had been around when Ingraham was a teenager, maybe her mom would have hired a private investigator too!

On July 14, 2011, two days after the book's official release date, radio and television star and best selling author Laura Ingraham, accompanied by EWTN News Director and "The World Over" host Raymond Arroyo (for moral, but not speaking, support) appeared at Book Revue in Huntington, New York to speak about their latest book, Of Thee I Zing: America's Cultural Decline from Muffin Tops to Body Shots and sign copies for book buyers.

Zing, while written as though Ingraham is speaking, is another Ingraham-Arroyo collaborative effort. Arroyo is credited on the book's cover and title page and pictured on the cover as a frightened oarsman accompanying a caped, confident, George Washingtonesque Ingraham in a small boat traversing dangerous waters. (In last year's superb book, The Obama Diaries, Arroyo's collaboration is acknowledged on page 353.)

Ingraham (and Arroyo) are out to take back the culture "one person at a time, one family at a time," relying on a seemingly inexhaustible supply of zingers.

As explained in zing's introduction:

"...When you love something you fight for it--and I can't bear to see America go down like this.

"The first step toward recovery is admitting we have a problem. Since others are either incapable or too distracted to identify the cultural threats afflicting America, I take the patriotic duty upon myself. Herein I will point out the cell phone barkers; the four telltale signs you are in a lousy restaurant; our penchant for inane exercise fads; the worst children's names in American history; our idiotic fixation with high-end cupcakes; each fraudulent holiday created by the card industry; and the young people who, like, speak in grunts, not full sentences.

"So bring along your gas mask and something to protect yourself--we're going deep into the nether regions of American culture. As harrowing as this jourrney may be, it is also rife with hilarity. So rejoice, fellow Americans! Our cultural renewal begins here."

The book jacket rightly warns: "A menacing force surrounds us. We see it, we feel it, we know it. The country we love is in grave peril. While politicians and 'experts' prattle about the debt crisis at home, and terrorism abroad, a more insidious home-grown threat is emerging. It endangers our future and undermines our present. The uncomfortable truth is: We have become our own worst enemy. The culture we have created is not turning on us. We're on the verge of drowning in our own ignorance, arrogance, gluttony...."

America's cultural decline and the critical need to reverse it obviously inspired Zing, and not even the ample comic relief provided to readers by Zing's witty writers can mask that ugly reality.

Zing shows that it is a daunting task, and the story Ingraham told at Book Revue about seeing a long line of people (mostly women) waiting to see vulgar and violent Chris Brown perform the next morning at Rockefeller Center put an explanation point on it.

Nevertheless, Ingraham was undeterred.

At page 90, "[b]oundless self-exhibition" is identified as "the standard in our culture."

Ingraham shines in the spotlight, but she is not a boundless exhibitionist. She wore a gold cross and a simple, short sleeve black dress suitable for a hot July day, NOT the borrowed leopard print miniskirt that she wore to be photographed for a 1995 cover of The New York Times Magazine to accompany an article about rising young conservatives.

Zing states that for those "launch[ing] a book or a film, it is now mandatory for celebrities to serve up every detail of their lives for public consumption."

But Ingraham, now a single mother of three children under the age of six, is following her own advice: "Our children are watching and listening. They are being taught that the more personal information you make public, the more popular and successful you can be. Things best left in the confessional or the therapist's office have now become fodder for public conversation. Discretion is dead today, and privacy is an afterthought."

Ingraham values discretion and privacy, but she does not pretend to be flawless and Zing shows that she's trying to help others learn from some of her own mistakes instead of make them themselves.

For example, Ingraham chose to identify herself as an ungrateful daughter as a teenager.

At pages 112-113, Ingraham wrote: "What is it that makes teenage daughters act so horribly toward their mothers? I was one, so I know. Nothing my mother could do was right--the purse was old and ratty, she didn't have the right shoes, she had the same winter coat for ten years. Of course, Ms. Bratty didn't realize that her mother did without so she could pay her college tuition and buy her all that horrid Laura Ashley clothing that was so trend. Now that I'm a mom, I understand how aggravating it must have been for her to deal with my ingratitude. Most moms sacrifice for their kids, and most kids don't fully appreciate it."

No longer a teenager and now a mom in her mid-forties with young children (one daughter, two sons), Ingraham understands her now deceased mother very well and appreciates her very much.

At pages 113-114, Ingraham wrote: "Then there are those other mothers who pride themselves on being 'best friends' with their daughters. My mom was too old-school for that. She had me in her mid-forties, and the concept was totally foreign to her. Mothers were mothers--not pals, not buddies, not girlfriends with their daughters. I remember being jealous of the girls who seemed to have the more modern relationship with their moms. They didn't have to suffer through the indignity of having boyfriends see their mother standing in the bay window with her hands on her hips whenever they turned up two minutes past curfew. Now as a mother myself, I intend to handle things very differently. I would never stay at home worrying about where my daughter was. After all, the private investigator tailing her will keep me updated on her whereabouts."

If Ingraham's mom wasn't saving for her daughter's college education and cell phones had been around when Ingraham was a teenager, maybe her mom would have hired a private investigator too!

Ingraham realizes that John Adams was right when he explained, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

In the tenth and final chapter of Zing, I think that the main cause of America's cultural decline is identified: "There is a hostility toward religious faith today that didn't exist thirty or forty years ago--a creeping secularism that is attempting to push religion to the margins of the culture. The religiophobes have done a bang-up job. From portraying people of faith as idiots and Koran burners to casting all clergy as pedophiles and money grubbers, the seculars have done their worst."

The culture decline that Ingraham laments accelerated in the last four decades, but hostility to religion did not suddenly appear thirty or forty years ago. That hostility can be traced back to America's beginning, but it did not become significant until 1947, when the United States Supreme Court suddenly announced, in Everson v. Board of Education, that government must be neutral between religion and irreligion. Thereafter matters worsened greatly, as secular extremists worked assiduously to replace the institutional separation of church and state embraced by the Founders with an overbroad interpretation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause that infringed upon its Free Exercise Clause.

In the eighteenth century, the secular extremists tried, but failed, to put an end to the military chaplaincy.

After careful study, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued a report explaining the Establishment Clause: "The clause speaks of 'an establishment of religion.' What is meant by that expression? It referred, without doubt, to the establishment which existed in the mother country, its meaning is to be ascertained by ascertaining what that establishment was. It was the connection with the state of a particular religious society, by its endowment, at public expense, in exclusion of, or in preference to, any other, by giving to its members exclusive political rights, and by compelling the attendance of those who rejected its communion upon its worship, or religious observances. These three particulars constituted that union of church and state of which our ancestors were so justly jealous, and against which they so wisely and carefully provided...."

The report further stated that the Founders were "utterly opposed to any constraint upon the rights of conscience" and therefore they opposed the establishment of a religion in the same manner that the church of England was established. But, the Founders "had no fear or jealousy of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people....They did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead and revolting spectacle of 'atheistic apathy.' Not so had the battles of the revolution been fought, and the deliberations of the revolutionary Congress conducted."

A similar House Judiciary Committee report explained that "an establishment of religion" was a term of art with a specific meaning: "What is an establishment of religion? It must have a creed, defining what a man must believe; it must have rights and ordinances, which believers must observe; it must have ministers of defined qualifications, to teach the doctrines and administer the rites; it must have tests for the submissive, and penalties for the nonconformist. There never was an establishment of religion without all these."

The truth is that America's Declaration of Independence acknowledges God as Creator and bestower of the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and America's Founders were religious and expected religious values to inform public policy.

John Adams declared that America's independence "ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever."

Samuel Adams was unambiguous: "We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His Kingdom come."

And John Quincy Adams, on July 4, 1837, the 61st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, explained that America was not founded as a secular nation:

"Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day.

"Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the Progress of the Gospel dispensation?

"Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth?

"That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before."

Amen.

The challenge is great, but Zing sounds an optimistic note (p. 282): "if wacky sermons, off-kilter fashion, and scandalous behavior haven't killed religion after all these centuries, what chance does Richard Dawkins have?"

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.


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