Adrian Peterson’s Particular Dilemma and How We Benefit From It

Adrian Peterson is a gifted running back for the Minnesota Vikings who is  currently suspended without pay by the National Football League Commissoner for the 2014 season. He was suspended for using a switch, a small, flexible limb, larger than a twig, to discipline his four year old son. The switch left welts on the boy’s legs, buttocks and scrotum. A complaint to Texas law enforcement officials resulted in a grand jury indictment for “reckless or negligent injury to.a child.” 

This indictment was surprising to those of us who grew up in a day when switches, belts and other objects were commonly used to discipline boys. The switch was part of the educatioal system as well. The old song, “School Days, School Days” sang nostalgically of the elementary school room. It goes like this:

School Days, school days, dear old golden rule days;
Readin’ and ‘ritin’ and ‘rithmatic;
Played to the tune of the hickory stick….!!”
(The song then describes old crushes)

The point herè is that for a very long time “hickory sticks, rulers and switches” were commonly used to discipline in schools and at home. Recall as well the biblical assertion that “if you spare the rod, you spoil the child.”  Proverbs 13:24. So using switches and rods was not only common but suggested as being beneficial as corporal punishment actually helped the developing child.

This is the world that Adrian Peterson grew up in. One in which switches (and belts etc.) were often used to discipline, and by doing so, imparting a sense of self control, toughness, and a Spartan stoicness. The ability to take the switch and not cry was important to the developing male character as the ability to “tough it out” and not react were seen as important in life. In Adrian Peterson’s world, his act of disciplining his child was, to his ethos, not an intent to harm, but an intent to benefit the child.

I went to a Quaker School where rulers and rods were not used, but neighbor boys went to a Jesuit school and they told me of being tapped on the knuckles for spelling errors, rapped on the head for speaking out of turn,  to being taken into the hall and being swatted to the point where it was painful to sit down for sass and such.  A complaint to a parent would result in an inquiry into the reason for the punishment, and, if disclosed, more punishment. At least, the correctness of the punishment would be ratified. So what happened to the five Jesuit disciplined boys? Three are leading doctors, (one heads a major hospital), one is a succesful investment manager and another a famous tax lawyer. Maybe the Jesuits read their Proverbs and got it right.

None of this, of course, helps Adrian Peterson as he lives in a time when corporal punishment against children is not condoned in our society, unless, of course, the discipline is administered under Sharia law, but that’s a different story. The National Football League, in response to the Texas Grand Jury, suspended Peterson for two games. The uproar was so loud, that it reconsidered and he was placed on the Commissioner’s exempted. list that is, in effect, an indefinite suspension. The suspension has now been made definite for the 2014 season, and without pay!

Adrian Peterson grew up in Texas playing highschool football. From what I know, the coaches are not benevolent despots in that part of the world, in fact they weren’t such at my Quaker School. He then played and starred at the University of Oklahoma, was a first round draft pick by the Vikings and has starred in the NFL. His action against his son was lamentable and he mistook discipline for punishment. Therewas no criminal intent to harm in this case, only an intent, possibly misguided, to “teach” proper behavior.

The NFL will do what it must to protect itself. The publicity from this case will go a long way to end corporal punishment, and that is the good and proper result. I, for one, learned that being sent to the headmaster’s office, waiting for him and then standing by his desk as he decided to call my parents, was sufficient punishment.

As a society, we have moved on and that is good. It took Adrian Peteroson and the NFL to bring this issue into the headlines and the NFL learned quickly how serious this behavior is in our culture. That it will be reduced and stigmatized is the beneficial outcome of this matter. Peterson will play again, and after resting for a year, star again. My Vikings could use that.

The Republican Tide is Tied to Obamacare

This article is a reprint from Weekly Standard and is illuminating and convincing.

President Obama has always wanted to be a historic president. In an election that was driven by Obamacare, he took another big step toward that end on Tuesday — just not in the way he intended.

Five years ago, the Democrats held a 20-seat majority in the Senate and a 79-seat majority in the House. Then they passed Obamacare. They did so in clear defiance of public opinion and over unanimous Republican opposition in both chambers. After the American people’s clear verdict on Tuesday night, Republicans will likely have an 8-seat majority in the Senate and will have at least a 51-seat majority in the House. That’s a 28-seat swing in the Senate and 130-seat swing in the House since the pre-Obamacare days.

These are historic losses. Consider the following:

The last president who lost control of the House in one election and then lost control of the Senate in another was Woodrow Wilson, nearly 100 years ago.

If Republicans end up winning the Senate races in Alaska and Louisiana, as expected, then Obama will have lost 14 senators since his first year in office. The last time a president lost more senators from his first year onward was when Ulysses S. Grant lost 16 senators — from 1869 to 1875.

Prior to the 2010 election, the last time the Democrats lost at least 63 House seats while also losing control of that chamber was in 1894, shortly before Babe Ruth’s birth.

Obama was the first president in American history to lose 63 House seats in his first midterm election, and he has now lost additional House seats in his second midterm election.
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Even in the unlikely event that the Democrats win all 13 of the House races that remain to be decided, they will still hold fewer House seats as of January than they have at any time since 1949, when Joe Louis was the undefeated heavyweight champ.

In short, Obamacare is helping Obama — and his allies — enter the record books. As much as the election was bad news for Obama, however, it might have been even worse news for his namesake.

The election was bad news for Obamacare not only because that legislation took another public shellacking, and because the number of legislators willing to defend it is dwindling. It was also bad news for Obamacare because of what happened in Virginia. For on a night of great Republican victories, the GOP’s standout performance may well have been in defeat.

Virginia senatorial candidate Ed Gillespie appears to have fallen just short in his effort to topple heavily favored incumbent Mark Warner. (The challenger trails by less than 1 point in a race that has yet to be finalized and could be headed for a recount.) But alone among Republican senatorial candidates, Gillespie ran on a detailed conservative alternative to Obamacare. In advancing such an alternative, and in almost pulling off a monumental upset while doing so, he broke new ground and offered his fellow Republicans a useful political and policy blueprint going forward.

With the right conservative alternative in play, Obamacare can be repealed. That is the main lesson that Republicans should take away from Tuesday night’s triumph.