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By Steve Woodward

We are the cliches we invent for ourselves. Currently, we're told that we live in uncertain times. Yet, repeatedly, in 2020, '21, '22, and here in turbulent 2023, I've never been more certain about so much.

Assuming I process everything I hear and read as thoughtful analysis and truth telling delivered by corporate media, I am:

A racist.

A Christian "nationalist".

A transphobic monster and accomplice in the morning of rage that recently visited a Nashville Christian school.

A hate-filled, January 6 insurrectionist.

A Constitutional apologist who misreads the First and Second amendments.

A book banner.

An election denier.

An environmental assassin.

A spreader of COVID-19, both of the virus itself and of derisive misinformation toward those who complied with "vaccines" and boosters, masks, and isolation.

Quite the rap sheet for a law abiding, graying white guy who pays his taxes and flies Old Glory every morning, except when there is rain, and brings her in at nightfall. I also plead guilty to being a Christian, not in name only but a Christian who will stand against persecution even, and especially, if its perpetrators are fellow American citizens.

The certainty of these times, in my humble estimation, is understood only when we recognize the miserable lives the ascendant Antifa/Marxist/Left (they're not merely Democrats who pay union dues) have chosen for themselves.

In this hellish parallel world, nothing is humorous; everything is a red flag. Nothing is sacred; everything is suspect. Everyone outside the woke universe is a threat to the new order.

Who stands on the periphery of this otherworld of "wokeness"? Those who embrace Judeo-Christian values. Those who respect the rule of law. Those who identify a maximum of two genders.

How do they loathe thee? Let me count their ways.

Family Grounds (see report nearby) is an independent coffee shop that in recent days opened its doors in Sanford, NC. It rolled out with a strong digital presence: website, Facebook, etc. Its owners hope to help customers start their day with freshly brewed coffee. Awake is good. Woke? Check it at the door.

The Men's room sports a stylized "M" and a "XY". The Women's room sports a stylized "W" and a "XX". High school 101. Brilliant. After all, embracing the nuclear family is impossible absent a basic understanding of the two sexes.

What happened next? A few snowflakes in Sanford protested mightily, posting one-star reviews. They soon were crushed by a high tide of backlash in the form of five-star smackdowns. This happens every time. Pro reality typically crushes pronouns.

Even closer to home, our local former "newspaper", today an underground radical organ of a yet unidentified cult, The Pilot, caters to those who argue that the Fasten Seat Belt sign must never be turned off because cultural turbulence never will subside. Recently, The Pilot collaborated with The Raleigh News & Observer, to place the hate machine at the feet of ... wait for it ... white people.

But, here's a footnote you might have missed. Did you know that the publisher of The Pilot -- and generations of family that came before in the newspaper business -- is related to descendants of the late, great Josephus Daniels, who led the Wilmington Massacre of 1898 and was a proud white supremacist?

Funny, it never came up as a disclaimer when The Pilot recently published a collaborative in-depth report with the N&O, entitled, "Hate Groups, Messages of Fear on the Rise".

Mostly, the tedious excuse for journalism was a rehashing of January 6, 2021, quoting various experts warning of the rise of extremism at our doorsteps. But deep into the article you can find a bombshell that should alarm active duty and retired military. You are the extremists.

"Southern Poverty Law Center names 28 hate groups and 17 anti-government groups active in North Carolina," according to the Pilot/N&O report. "Megan Squire, who studies hate groups for the SPLC, says those typically target others based on immutable characteristics, dehumanizing or demonizing people because they’re Black, for example, or gay or an immigrant or a Muslim. The America they wish for is made up primarily of white people."

Next comes the unfounded assumption that should strike fear in the hearts of our veteran community.

"According to the SPLC and others who track it, extremist activity in North Carolina appears comparable to that of many other states, with a possible exception: the state has a huge active-duty military presence and the eighth-highest veteran population in the country.

Nearly 642,000 veterans lived here in 2019, according to UNC demographers, and their military training makes them prized recruits for violence-prone extremists."

This same easily discredited diatribe that was passed off as investigative reporting never mentions the rise of Antifa terrorism across our nation, currently on full display in suburban Atlanta, where a parcel of land intended for development as a police training academy is under siege by domestic terrorists.

Here's another example of why a legitimate newspaper editor would have sent the report back to the authors demanding a rewriting, if not a rethinking of its premise. It took us back to December 3, 2022, in downtown Southern Pines.

"Hours before the show," the N&O/Pilot reports, "protestors had been outside the (Sunrise Theater) demanding the Downtown Divas' performance be canceled to protect local children, though no one under 18 was to be allowed in."

This references the now infamous drag queen show that evening at the Sunrise. The group characterized as "protestors" stood on the rail station platform reading scriptures. Unlike the reporters who collaborated to craft this work of fiction, I was there. The protestors that evening were there to celebrate the drag show. Their signs and their words were laced with profanity. They came to the venue with their children, as if to begin the drag normalization process.

These surely are not uncertain times. I am certain evil is here. The enemy is among us. Look around.

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