MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
Today we’ll talk about that dreadful Wednesday in Washington and what it says about our political culture.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday.
Plus a new TV adaptation of a book series both Anglophiles and animal lovers are sure to appreciate.
And this month’s Ask the Editor: Marvin Olasky answers common questions about writing.
BROWN: It’s Friday, January 8th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BROWN: Up next, Kent Covington has today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Ongoing fallout from protest; calls to remove Trump » Some Democratic lawmakers, and at least one Republican are now urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office.
They say Wednesday’s siege of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters shows Trump cannot be allowed to lead until January 20th.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday…
SCHUMER: Make no mistake about it, the reprehensible acts yesterday were incited by the president of the United States. Yesterday’s events would not have happened without him.
President Trump did call on protesters not to resort to violence, but critics say his calls were less than convincing.
Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said “when pressed to move and denounce the violence, he barely did so.”
KINZINGER: While of course victimizing himself and seeming to give a wink and a nod to those doing it; all indications that he has become unmoored not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself.
He has also called for the president’s removal.
Several House Democrats also introduced articles of impeachment on Thursday. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that impeaching the president for a second time is a possibility.
Numerous Trump admin. officials resign after Capitol riots » Also in the wake of Wednesday’s riots, more than a half-dozen Trump administration officials resigned on Thursday.
Among them, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
And Trump’s former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told CNBC that he was stepping down from his post as special U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland.
MULVANEY: I’m not condemning those who choose not to resign. I understand that. But I can’t stay here, not after yesterday. You can’t look at that yesterday and think I want to be a part of that in any way, shape or form.
Others resigning include: Deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger and Tyler Goodspeed, who chairs the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Also first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff and former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham as well as deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews.
Pelosi calls on Capitol Police chief to resign over “failure of leadership” » Meantime, on Capitol Hill, the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police Steven Sund has stepped down.
His announcement followed remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hours earlier.
PELOSI: I am calling for the resignation of the chief of the Capitol Police, Mr. Sund. And I have received notice from Mr. Irving that he will be submitting his resignation.
Paul Irving is the House Sergeant-at-Arms.
Steven Sund faced more tough questions after an Associated Press report on Thursday. The AP reported that three days before the Capitol protests, the Pentagon contacted Capitol Police and offered National Guard manpower, but police officials said no thanks.
Rioters breached the Capitol on Wednesday, vandalizing and even looting the offices of lawmakers.
More than 50 Capitol and D.C. police were injured and several were hospitalized.
One officer fatally shot a woman inside the Capitol Wednesday. She has been identified as 35-year old Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt.
Three other people died of medical emergencies during the riot.
Facebook blocks Trump account until after inauguration » Facebook has blocked President Trump’s account until after the January 20th inauguration and possibly longer. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has that story.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the decision in a post on Thursday. He said it’s too risky to allow Trump to continue posting on the platform.
Zuckerberg said Wednesday’s events on Capitol Hill show that President Trump—quote—“intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power.”
Facebook subsidiary Instagram will also freeze the president’s account for at least the next two weeks.
Twitter also temporarily suspended President Trump’s account after removing several of his tweets on Wednesday. One of those posts included a video calling on protesters to go home but in it, he also repeated claims about voter fraud, triggering its removal.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Hong Kong releases U.S. lawyer on bail » An American human rights lawyer arrested in Hong Kong has been released on bail. Police arrested John Clancey and about 50 other activists on Wednesday under a new so-called national security law.
The central Chinese government has used the law to crack down on liberties in what used to be a semi-independent territory.
Authorities accused Clancy and others of participating in an unofficial primary election last year. Pro-democracy groups held the event to pick candidates to run for seats in Hong Kong’s legislature.
But Chinese government officials say that was part of a plan to subvert state power.
Chinese officials have also charged pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong on suspicion of violating the national security law. He’s already serving a 13-month sentence for organizing and participating in unauthorized protests in 2019.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Culture Friday with John Stonestreet.
Plus, writing tips from WORLD editor in chief Marvin Olaksy.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Friday, January 8th, 2021. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It.
Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
AUDIO: Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol.
Not just one window, but many windows. Rioting protesters climbed through the openings of the Capitol building and then eventually stormed into the chambers of the Senate and House.
AUDIO: Get down under your chairs if necessary. So we have folks entering the rotunda and coming down this way, so we’ll update you as soon as we can. But just be prepared. Stay calm.
This was cell-phone video recorded as those inside the House chamber sheltered in place, with protesters pounding on doors and facing guards with guns drawn.
BROWN: Media reports captured the chaos and uncertainty.
MONTAGE: Protesters have penetrated the capitol, tear gas has been deployed, members now have masks / we’ve been hearing flash-bangs every few minutes for the last hour / there’s an overwhelming number of people for the Capitol Police / this is despicable, this is not who we are as a country.
It’s Culture Friday and time now to welcome John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast.
EICHER: Morning, John. It’s been awhile.
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: It has. And I’d love to say Happy New Year. We spent so much time around New Years saying, “Goodbye 2020” and it looks like 2020 turned 21 and got drunk already. It’s the first week. Unbelievable.
EICHER: Yeah, what an unbelievable day. I thought we were going to come in today and we talk about the preposterous “Amen, Awoman” prayer, a Christian minister who’s a congressman, praying in the name of a Hindu god, and new rules in the new Congress on gender-neutral language. All important things.
But then an all-out assault on the seat of our government. And as you heard there a few seconds ago something we heard over and over on that terrible Wednesday, that this is not America. What do you think?
STONESTREET: There’s so many thoughts and it’s hard to do it in real time here because the political landscape has moved so fast this week. It seems like forever ago that the Georgia runoffs actually happened and now we have a trifecta. And we should be talking about that, too. There’s so many things that we should be talking about.
But I think your point of, “This isn’t America,” I heard that from so many different people and I think that’s maybe a good place to start. What does that mean?
Do we mean that we’re somehow less fallen people in developing nations that we see in other places? That’s clearly not the case. Being technologically or financially sophisticated is often just a better way of being bad.
Are we saying that America will go on forever because we’re some sort of kind of special chosen group that is exempt from the universal rules of civilizations that—civilizations that are made up of people who can’t govern themselves, cannot be governed? Are we somehow exempt from that rule?
That when we become people who seek to be free from any sort of restraint whatsoever rather than being free for goodness and beauty, that somehow we’re exempt from the rules that have always governed civilization?
Do we think that if people aren’t formed in virtue, when people put their hope in individuals rather than in eternal truths that transcend a particular individual, that somehow we’re exempt? These rules are universal of human nature.
Civilizations come and go. Countries come and go. Nations come and go. It’s hard to look in the mirror and see something this blatantly unsettling. But, good heavens, I hope we look in the mirror. Because if we pretend somehow that what we witnessed this week is an anomaly? That we’re somehow better people? That this won’t happen to us? That what made our nation great were individuals rather than eternal truths that were ultimately sourced in God? And that’s true on the right or the left.
The other thing, too, is the intense certainty that this was caused by very, very recent events. I was reminded, Nick and Myrna, of a book called The Content Trap. The author is talking about how something goes viral. And it’s a fascinating take because it begins with the story of the Yellowstone fires in 1988, which ended up lasting for months, and the typical story is it was all caused by a dropped cigarette. What gets missed in that whole analysis, as he says, is the fact that there were millions of dropped cigarettes that year, maybe dozens within Yellowstone that hour and then why did this one cause it? And the point he was trying to make is this is a trigger. The preexisting conditions, the environment of dryness and fire policy and then the response and all of that sort of stuff, that’s what caused it. The trigger just lit it.
And what we saw this week has to be understood the same way.
EICHER: So, sticking with that analogy, which is a really interesting one, that it’s not the spark as much as it is the fuel that’s already there, so what’s the spark and what’s the fuel in this metaphor, John?
STONESTREET: Look, I think the fuel was all kinds of things. I think the fuel is lost faith in institutions. That is partially the fault of people who lose the faith and partially the fault of the institutions. When institutions become untrustworthy. I think loss of faith in the system. If you think that’s just Trump voters who think that the election got stolen, you’re forgetting the last four years. I mean, depending on which side wins, the other side can’t imagine that there’s any possible way that they could lose unless there was some sort of malfeasance. This is an unsustainable way to go forward where corruption is the only thing that always drives our story, our national story forward. And that’s really where we’ve landed.
We’ve certainly landed in the place where we have thinned out the institutions that form people into the sort of people that can govern themselves with the loss of family, church, all the other mediating structures of society. You’ve got a media that continually choses to offer opinion pieces and call them reporting. Bury ledes, bury stories, mistell stories, jump to conclusions, play kind of an elite strategy, and you’ve also got a system of people who aren’t discerning enough to know the difference between true information and reliable information and false information and counterfeit sources. Those are just the things off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s plenty of others. And you have a president who many people justified because the other side was worse and on many of those issues I agree. But character’s always been destiny. It will always be destiny. Again, we’re not exempt from the rules of civilization that say the character of our leaders matter. And that’s not to say—and I know the emails you’re going to get in my name, which is going to be “Would Hillary have been better?” No one is saying that at all. I’m just saying that character is destiny and the evidence is right up in front of us.
EICHER: And no question that the new crew that’s coming in, worse, but probably in different ways.
STONESTREET: Oh, listen, again, the lead of the league should have been, look, what do we do now when this sort of reprieve that maybe the last four years offered at least those of us who cared about issues of social conservatism and Christian morality — we’ve been able to say what we want, think what we want, unless you’re in certain corners of the academic campus and now that’s gone. We thought that the Equality Act, for example, was way out. It’s not way out now with a Senate that looks like it will be under Democratic control and a House and a White House, then you absolutely will have the Equality Act brought to the floor and there’s plenty of Republicans who don’t see any problem with advancing it. In other words, suddenly what was far off and unthinkable now is something that will change our way of life. So, no. There’s no que– and here’s the thing, Nick, that’s what we should be talking about right now because that’s the issues that we face.
BROWN: John, you just mentioned a Democratic controlled Senate, very likely, and it feels like a lot of Christians may be going into political exile, maybe that’s a good thing. What kind of cultural progress do you think we might be able to make on the sidelines here?
STONESTREET: Well, I think that the most important work that we have right now—to borrow the words of many thinkers, most recently Rod Dreher—is to thicken our Christian institutions. The most important work we can do is to prepare good citizens to govern themselves so we don’t need a big government. I think, also, that what we really need to consider as well is the revolutionary ways the church has influenced society in almost all the ways we would never thought.
And I wonder how many of Proverbs—if we spent time to go through them—would emerge as being profoundly simple but profoundly impactful if Christians actually lived them out. Like, for example, a soft answer turns away wrath. Sounds just revolutionary in our day, but what if it does and what if we need to be beholden to it? What about this: what about forgiveness? Where do you find forgiveness in our culture anywhere? But Christians are called to forgive as God forgave us. What a revolutionary thing. And, by the way, we’ve seen glimpses of that, right, with the Amish community to that school shooter years ago in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. To the members of Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina to Dylann Roof. And when you see it up front, it’s completely unexplainable by any other source than divine intervention.
EICHER: John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. John, thank you so much!
BROWN: Yeah, thanks, John!
STONESTREET: Praying for you guys. Pray for us. Pray for each other.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, January 8th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Megan Basham has a review of All Creatures Great and Small, a new PBS Masterpiece series premiering Sunday.
MEGAN BASHAM, TELEVISION CRITIC: Earlier this week I sat sifting through options for my first review of the year. After a divisive end to 2020 led to an even more divisive beginning to 2021, the usual dramas with their intrigue and action, the comedies with their snarky leads shooting barbs at folks outside their tribe, struck me like hot water on sunburned skin. I felt too raw to engage with any of them. Then PBS’s Masterpiece Theater came to my rescue with a series that was just what the doctor, or in this case veterinarian, ordered.
CLIP: So where did it all start for you, wanting to be a vet? There was a small city farm in the back of my school. It was like having part of the country in the city. I developed a real love for the animals there. Ah well, there, you see, the animals are the easy part. It’s the people that cause all the bother.
It’s a minor miracle that the U.K.’s Channel 5 decided to remake All Creatures Great and Small, the hit 1970s series adapted from James Herriot’s bestselling memoirs. The collection of homely and charming tales about a Depression-era vet working in a small English village includes no sex, no violence, and only a smattering of minor salty language. The highest stakes are whether a cow has been misdiagnosed or a racehorse will have to be put down.
CLIP: Let’s just take a moment. Shouldn’t you be doing something? Nature takes the time she needs. Bring the tractor. We’re going to have to winch him up. I can’t let you do that. Excuse me? Nobody’s winching this horse anywhere. It’s cruel and unnecessary.
“Who did they make this show for,” one mainstream critic who found it too mild asked grumpily. “Me!” I wanted to shout. They made it for people like me, who are weary of being assaulted by all that is ugly and crass and contentious in the world, who are longing for something comforting and community-minded. All Creatures Great and Small couldn’t offer more warmth and neighborliness if it was a steaming pot of tea next to a plate of shortbread biscuits.
CLIP: Look at that. Short horn cow. You see? Gorgeous beast. Dying out now, of course. Friesians give so much more milk. As much as eight quarts per day. And you think that’s a good thing, do you? If a farmer can get more milk for the same amount of effort, I suppose it is. Do you suppose? But at what cost? This place has a character all of its own. The short horns are part of that. With them gone, we lose a little more of what makes it so special.
Which is not to say there’s no conflict in the show. You can’t have a story without it. It’s just that the conflict arises from clashes in personality that give viewers reasons to have a good-natured chuckle rather than feel superior.
Take young James, for instance. He arrives in the tiny town of Darrowby fresh out of veterinary school in the crowded urban environment of Glasgow. His tidy tweed suit and carefully laced oxford shoes are no match for the lush, rolling dales of Yorkshire. Beautiful as they may be in a panoramic shot, they can get fairly mucky close up. His timid city manners are no match for the earthy, idiosyncratic characters he meets on the local farms.
None are so quintessentially British as his cantankerous employer, senior vet, Siegfried Farnon, who chomps his pipe and barks out orders more fiercely than any of his canine clients.
CLIP: How is it possible we have nothing we want and two of everything we don’t? It’s almost as if you might benefit from employing some sort of system. Sarcasm really doesn’t suit a woman of your religiosity, Mrs. Hall.
Siegfried’s temper grows all the more growly once his layabout brother, Tristan, returns home, having once again failed his college exit exams.
As James makes mistakes and learns his trade, often in hilarious ways, he and the locals clash at times. But they all come together in the end for a pint in the pub. There’s no question of anyone in this community excommunicating anyone else. James even manages to have a friendly relationship with his rival for a local girl’s affections.
When differences do grow more serious, the characters encourage each other to look beneath the surface to find the best in their fellow man. No one here is dismissed as a “garbage person” to use that odious Twitter term.
CLIP: Wait, James. Siegfried‘s bark really is worse than his bite. He’s been very kind to us. Underneath it all he’s a good man. Stand up to him. He’ll love you for it.
Funny as the show often is—and it is often very funny, especially when a pampered pekingese named Tricki-woo comes on the scene—James, Siegfried, and the other inhabitants of Darrowby left me reflecting on the idea of community. How good it would be if Americans still gathered regularly in a place like the pub or, even better, the local church, after a hard week. A place where we’re forced to reconcile our differences and exorcise our animosities face to face.
All Creatures Great and Small may not have the addictive quality that earns that highest honor critics throw around today—bingeable. But it is like a nourishing hearty, soup seasoned with the wisdom of Thessalonians 4:11—make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.
I’m Megan Basham.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, January 8th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
One quick request before we continue. We are running low on prerolls—those listener introductions to the program that everyone loves to hear. So if you haven’t recorded one yet, or if you’d like to record another one, visit worldandeverything.org and click on the Engage tab. Under that you’ll find, “Record a preroll.” Follow the instructions there and send the file on over to us. Remember, we love to have families participate, but please have only one person speak at a time. And please keep your recording to no more than 20 seconds. Thanks!
Well, next up, Ask the Editor. This month, WORLD editor in chief Marvin Olasky offers aspiring writers a few tips.
MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: One WORLD reader asked, What are the biggest writing mistakes you see? Today’s a good day for me to tackle that, because my wife and I are teaching right now a World Journalism Institute mid-career course. Here are five ways to improve your writing.
First, scientists have found that most so-called junk DNA is valuable, but that’s not true for junk ABC. Get rid of words like kind of, sort of, could have, seemed to, begin to. Avoid starting sentences with “there is” or “there are.”
Second, make adverbs rare. Change she went quickly to “she sprinted.” Change he listened surreptitiously to “he eavesdropped.” Avoid adverb (or adjective) intensifiers like completely destroyed.
Third, avoid the wimpy semi-colon. Periods, commas, and colons are useful, but schedule a semi-colonoscopy as soon as possible. Remember that Americans fought a revolution for the freedom to put periods and commas inside quotation marks, not outside as the Brits still do.
Fourth, dump danglers. Here’s an example: Walking down the street, a statue of George III appeared. Was the statue walking? Listen closely to this example: Topped with pepperoni and covered with extra cheese, the children devoured the pizza. The pizza, not the kids, had those toppings.
Last and worst: the passive construction. Here are some examples: from newspaper stories: Change The party is dominated by a secularist elite to “a secularist elite dominates the party”. Change Day-to-day military operations are managed by U.S. Central Command to “U.S. Central Command manages day-to-day military operations.” Have no pity for passives: They suck the life out of sentences and often are ways to avoid responsibility, as in the classic example mistakes were made.
So, avoid those filthy five. If you want to review what I’ve just said, please go to the transcript of today’s show at worldandeverything.org. What’s the best way to improve? Find a teacher or friend who will confront you on your mistakes.
I’m Marvin Olasky.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Well it takes many people to put this program together each morning. So we want to say thanks to: Megan Basham, Anna Johansen Brown, Janie B. Cheaney, Kent Covington, Kristen Flavin, Katie Gaultney, Kim Henderson, Leigh Jones, Onize Ohikere, Mary Reichard, Jenny Rough, Sarah Schweinsberg, Cal Thomas, and Emily Whitten.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Our audio engineers Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz stay up late to get the program to you early. Paul Butler is executive producer and Marvin Olasky is editor in chief.
Of course, none of this happens without you. We are grateful for your support!
In II Corinthians we are told to not look to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
I hope you have a restful weekend, and worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.