To the yutzes who think I'm too much of a Debbie Downer:
I am a sixth-generation Mormon living in Utah. My ancestors were murdered and driven from this country at gunpoint by MOBS. My people were considered to be the worst kind of heretics (and still are, by far too many "Christians") and so the mobsterism went wholly unchecked.
The law didn't stop them. The Constitution didn't stop them. Christian sentiment didn't stop them. Joseph Smith went to the OVAL OFFICE in person to beg Martin Van Buren for protection and Van Buren blew him off saying, "Well, you people are pretty unpopular, and there's an election coming up." The governor of Missouri signed out an effing EXTERMINATION ACT on us, which remained in effect until the 1970s. Our property was stolen from us at least three times, our temples were seized or burned, and that has never been restored to us. (We're also not asking.)
A few Christian souls stood up for us but the rest wanted us dead, because we were wrong and they were right. The entire U.S. army was sent after us in the godforsaken Salt Lake Valley that we were forced to flee to. (They were called back at the last minute when the Civil War started: bittersweet event, that.) The Republican party was formed to combat two evils: slavery and polygamy. (Mind you, polygamy wasn't a thing until AFTER we were in Utah, so explain the animosity prior to that.)
I KNOW RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION. I'm the Polish refugee who comes to America and freaks out about the leftward trends, but everyone says "It can't happen here: this is America. Most of us don't want that so we won't let it happen. Stop being defeatist. It's demoralizing. ELECT REPUBLICANS TO THE SENATE."
AND SO I KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING and what we're up against, and I know it better than YOU. My company has its HQ in Silicon Valley and an office in Utah, where I work. I fully expect that within the next few years, they'll either close the Utah office (can't have homophobes working for us!) or they fire anyone who won't denounce the Church's teachings on marriage, enumerated here: https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng&cid=PA0414-02#
I will gladly take that bullet (I can handle it financially) while rejoicing that I was worthy to be persecuted for Christ's sake.
My ancestors would have been colossal fools to think that they'd finally prevailed after the first time Joseph Smith and his brethren were released from jail, the trumped-up charges dropped. (He was subsequently jailed over and over on false charges and a mob eventually murdered him while under the "protection of the state.") They would have been naive indeed if they failed to recognize that they weren't up against mere popular sentiment but "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
One lovely gesture of generosity and solidarity has NOT shifted the momentum or changed the battlefield. It's cheering but it's transient. If you're losing 120-0 and you make a field goal at the top of the fourth quarter, YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO CELEBRATE or even to imagine that the momentum has shifted.
You don't QUIT nor do you stop trying as hard as you can. But if you get cocky over seven lousy points without doing the math (you're down by 117!) YOU WILL LOSE.
If Tony Soprano burned down a store to make a point, and the Good Townsfolk rebuilt it, how do you think he'd take that? Would he stop burning down stores or would he UP HIS GAME and make sure that next time the damage couldn't be undone by Kindly Souls.
STEP ONE IS TO NOT GET COCKY. Step two is to not resent it when someone points out that being down by 117 instead of 120 hardly constitutes a comeback. Step three is to get back in the game and see if you can anticipate the next team's moves and stop them from widening the point spread further.
Optimism is not a river in Egypt. It's not happy talk or cheerleading or Inspirational Statements. It's not believing that everything will turn out all right. It's not even seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty. Optimism is perceiving that you have a degree of control over your situation and then DOING WHAT YOU CAN.
I'm all ready to take a bullet — literal or figurative — for my faith; I'd shame my ancestors otherwise. I know that even if we ARE defeated by these wicked, wicked people during our lifetimes that Christ will eventually be victorious.
But I also know who and what we're up against, and I also know that Our Team does not currently have the game to beat this back. Not today, we don't.
So we'll lose the war unless we face up to our weaknesses, deficits, and liabilities with a cold stare and a grim determination. Curse my rudeness and bluntness and negativity all you want, but that won't win you either jack or squat.
Find out what the Left's next target is. Devise a method to counter it before it happens. THAT, not warm fuzzies, is the essence of optimism.