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The World and Everything in It: May 9, 2024

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WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: May 9, 2024

The United States’ response to Israel’s Rafa operation, changing the classification of marijuana, and the restructuring of the United Methodist Church. Plus, a world-record baguette, Cal Thomas on raising the presidential rhetoric, and the Thursday morning news


Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Associated Press/Photo by Mark Schiefelbein

PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like me. My name is Dr. Dale Herman and I'm a retired veterinarian in North Prairie Wisconsin. I am currently the executive director for Compass Wisconsin. I hope you enjoy today's program.


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning! The United States pauses military aid to Israel after the IDF strikes Rafah.

LINDSAY MAST, HOST: We’ll talk about it with a foreign policy expert. Also, how risky is marijuana? The Biden administration wants to loosen restrictions. Plus, African Methodists grapple with changes to the denomination and how it might affect their communities.

KULAN: Your concerns are my concerns. Your children are my children.

And Cal Thomas on bringing inspiration back into political rhetoric.

BROWN: It’s Thursday, May 9th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

MAST: And I’m Lindsay Mast. Good morning!

BROWN: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Israel latest » President Biden says he will withhold bombs and artillery shells from Israel if it launches a ground invasion in the city of Rafah.

In an interview that aired last night, the president told CNN’s Erin Burnett:

BIDEN: It’s just wrong. We’re not going to supply the weapons and the artillery shells that have been used …
BURNETT: Artillery shells as well?
BIDEN: Yeah, artillery shells.

Biden opposes a large-scale operation in Rafah where more than a million civilians are sheltering.

His remarks came just hours after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed that the U.S. had already paused a shipment of bombs to Israel.

Austin said the United States will continue to supply defensive weapons.

AUSTIN: Uh, but that said, we are currently reviewing some near term security assistance shipments in the context of unfolding events in Rafah.

The paused shipment was to include heavy 2,000-pound bombs which Austin said could cause too much collateral damage in an urban area.

Israel says Rafah is the last remaining Hamas stronghold, and there is no way to defeat the terror group without going into Rafah.

Some Republicans on Capitol Hill responded strongly to Biden’s stance accusing him of turning his back on one of America’s closest allies.

PROTESTERS: Why are you in riot gear?

Latest on protests » Pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli demonstrators at George Washington University taunting police Wednesday in the nation’s capital just before officers cleared out the encampment where they’d been squatting for two weeks.

Some Democrats, like Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, denounced the police:

TLAIB: It is outrageous that police are now entering college campuses across our nation with their guns drawn.

But GOP Senator Josh Hawley says it’s the protesters in the wrong.

HAWLEY: They’re out there calling for death to Israel, death to Jewish Americans – I mean these are people that are advocating for genocide.

Officers arrested 30 demonstrators who refused to leave the encampment.

Greene vacate push fails » The latest uprising in the House of Representatives did not last long. GOP Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green made her pitch:

GREENE: Mike Johnson is ill equipped to handle the rigors of the job of Speaker of the House and has allowed a uniparty, one that fuels foreign wars, tramples on civil liberties.

And against the advice of top Republicans, including presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, she took her shot, making good on her vow to try and oust the speaker.

GREENE: The form of the resolution is as follows: Declaring the office of Speaker of the House Representatives to be vacant ... [boos]

But no sooner did she trigger the vote, than Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise countered by calling first for a vote to table it.

AUDIO: The yeas are 359, the nays are 43, with 7 answering present. The motion is adopted.

And with that, Greene’s push to vacate the speaker quickly faltered.

Speaker Johnson said after the vote:

JOHNSON:  Hopefully, this is the end of the personality politics and the frivolous character assassination that has defined the 118th Congress. It's regrettable. It's not who we are as Americans, and we're better than this.

Johnson said it’s time now to move forward.

Midwest storms » Severe storms have ripped through the central and southeastern United States over the past couple of days, producing major hail and spawning violent tornadoes.

RESIDENT: A disaster … Um, like, your whole, everything you worked for was gone. Um, just, I don't know, just a lot of sadness. It was just bad.

A resident of Kalamazoo County, Michigan heard there, where Sheriff Richard Fuller said after one tornado tore through another twister took almost exactly the same path.

FULLER: We're looking at homes throughout this community that are totally gone. They've been demolished. We know people were in some of those homes. We found homes on their side and upside down.

And officials say at least eight tornadoes touched down in Ohio.

The storms are also blamed for at least two deaths in the southeast where trees toppled onto vehicles.

Brazil flooding » Meantime, residents in southern Brazil are dealing with a historic catastrophe.

Massive flooding there has killed at least a hundred people, with a hundred others still missing. And the floods have left more than 200,000 people homeless.

One survivor, living under makeshift plastic sheeting, says she doesn’t know how her family will rebuild.

SURVIVOR: Everything is gone, starting with our homes. If the water goes down, we will thank God and return to our house. Even then, we will have to struggle to get our lives back.

And there could be more heavy rain on the way.

Authorities warn that floodwaters could rise further with more downpours in the weekend forecast.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: American military aid for Israel on hold. Plus, big changes for the United Methodist Church.

This is The World and Everything in It.


LINDSAY MAST, HOST: It’s Thursday the 9th of May, 2024. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Lindsay Mast.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Up first, red lines in Rafah.

On Monday, Israel’s military seized control of Gaza’s southern border crossing into Egypt. That prevents the terrorist group Hamas from seizing humanitarian aid that comes through the corridor.

MAST: But the United States and others are concerned that Israel may end up blocking aid to Palestinian civilians, more than one million of whom are in Rafah. The U.S. responded by pausing some of the military aid it previously promised.

What does Israel’s new offensive mean for the war in Gaza and relations with the U.S.?

BROWN: Joining us now is Richard Goldberg. He was a member of the White House National Security Council under President Trump, and previously advised Congress on U.S. foreign assistance. He’s now a Senior Advisor for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

MAST: Rich, good morning

RICHARD GOLDBERG: Good morning.

MAST: Earlier this week, Hamas rejected a cease-fire proposal from Israel, but then on the same day the Rafah offensive began, it reportedly agreed to a cease-fire deal. Was that the same deal Israel offered, or something different?

GOLDBERG: It was not. It was materially different. This was a little bit of a head fake and information warfare play by Hamas, as Israel had said, you know, time is up, we've been negotiating here now literally for months, offering negotiating against ourselves offering everything we can think of as many terrorists out of prisons in Israel to be released in exchange for a certain number of Israeli hostages. Then the number of Israeli hostages started going down because Hamas said, well, we don't think we have enough that are actually still alive. And all of these kinds of machinations and negotiations kept going.

And Israel finally said, you know, we look like a desperate party here, and we're not. So we're going to go into Rafah, we're gonna begin a campaign to encircle the city, take control of the Egyptian border, and put more pressure on Hamas to let the leaders know, this can be your endpoint. We can go forward in this operation, or you can do a deal right now. We're not continuing to negotiate any further. Hamas said, No. The Israelis started the offensive, and certainly just, you know, six hours later, [Hamas] suddenly said, Oh, actually, we've accepted a deal. And it was wow, it worked for the Israelis. They got them. They've accepted a deal. Will Israel stop the offensive now?

And nobody asked the question of what deal did they accept? And it turns out, they had a deal in mind where Israel withdraws all of its forces from Gaza permanently, commits to end all military operations against Hamas permanently, doesn't even have to have people who are alive get released out of other hostages can be dead or alive. And for Israel, it's saying, Well, no, we're accepting a temporary cease-fire to do a deal to get more hostages out, but we're not ending the conflict. We are committed to removing you from Gaza. And we're not going to do some deal where it's like a crackerjack box, and we don't know who we're getting. If they're dead or alive. We're gonna wait to open the box. We want proof of life. We want our people back if they're still alive, and we can get them home.

Hamas is playing games. And so Israel's moving forward very methodically and precisely, with their operation in Rafah, not yet a full scale operation that we have expected in the past but slowly starting to get first neighborhoods evacuated, tried to get civilians out of harm's way and cut off any escape routes through Egypt.

MAST: In the past, Rafa has come up a lot. President Biden has reportedly warned Prime Minister Netanyahu multiple times against launching an offensive there. So, Rich, why is Raffa such a point of contention? And has Israel actually crossed the line with this latest move?

GOLDBERG: It's hard to understand exactly why the Biden administration has decided that removing the final battalions that are in place for Hamas, removing its final major command and control centers in Gaza, hard to understand why they are so opposed to Israel doing that. They hide behind the facade of, well, we believe a lot of civilians are going to die, and Israel has no way to do this without massive civilian casualties. That doesn't have the air of truth to me. Because throughout this campaign as they moved from Northern Gaza on southward, the Israelis have always started any offensive by first facilitating the departure of civilians to safer areas, and then taking steps to try to mitigate civilian deaths as best they can, as they pursue Hamas, infrastructure, Hamas leadership.

And so what doesn't make sense to me is why not help Israel accomplish its goals in a way that mitigates civilian casualties and harm as much as possible? Actually doubling down and supporting Israel in a Rafah operation would likely be the fastest way to get Hamas to accept a cease-fire deal.

MAST: A question about the weapons shipments: How does the White House pausing some weapons shipments to Israel—as it’s been reported—square with the fact that Congress just approved spending several billion in aid to Israel?

GOLDBERG: It doesn't square, unfortunately. I mean, it's a $95 billion emergency supplemental that the president pushed Congress for, a lot of money in there for Israel's security, particularly for the replenishment of munitions, the very munitions that the President is now holding back from Israel. Unfortunately, the President is bending to political pressure and his base. And he's he's ignoring—and quite frankly—violating the will of the majority of Congress that just sent him a bill that he signed to ensure Israel has all the munitions it needs.

MAST: One last question, Rich. Is there any other aspect of this story that you think warrants more attention?

GOLDBERG: Well, the one thing I would just remind people is, we're all very distracted right now, in some ways by the various fires that Iran has set in the Middle East. We're hyper-focused on neighborhoods in Gaza, losing focus on broader regional threats like Hezbollah, that is escalating in northern Israel's border; Jordan that's getting flooded with arms from Iran and being destabilized; the threat from the Houthis that continues on a daily basis to the Red Sea. But ultimately, we're being very distracted from Iran's quest for weapons of mass destruction. And I am very worried about it's advancing towards that nuclear threshold line under cover of a weapon of mass distraction, which is all of these fires that it's been setting. And we need to make sure we're not taking our eye off the big ball, off the head of the octopus, and that we are prepared to do what's necessary to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Because if you think we're deterred in the region right now, by Iran and its terror proxies, you won't like what the region looks like and what the rest of the world looks like if Iran acquires nuclear weapons.

MAST: A lot to consider. Richard Goldberg is a former national security advisor and current senior advisor to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Richard, thank you for your time and analysis!

GOLDBERG: You bet!


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: easing marijuana restrictions.

Last week, the Justice Department recommended the government change how it classifies marijuana, taking it from a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD, to a Schedule III drug, on par with steroids and testosterone.

LINDSAY MAST, HOST: The Justice Department says the new category would take into account medical uses for marijuana and its supposed low addiction rates, though it would not decriminalize it. 

BROWN: The Biden administration is pitching it as a low-risk change, but addiction counselors and former users question the move.

WORLD Radio’s Mary Muncy has the story.

MARY MUNCY: Andrew Tucker is a high school senior who’s about to graduate from a rehab center in Oklahoma. He came in for an addiction to marijuana that started his freshman year.

ANDREW TUCKER: I was always scared of all the other stuff. But weed, I don't know, I saw everyone else doing it so I did it.

In 2018, Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana, and Tucker says that made it much more accessible

TUCKER: In my town, there's probably at least 30 dispensaries and I'd say at least 10 of them would sell to you without an ID. And, you know, you just could walk in there and put it on the counter. And if you had the money, they just hand it over, and no questions asked.

A combination of friends, advertising, music, and social media helped make using weed feel normal to Tucker.

TUCKER: You turn a corner, everywhere there's a dispensary, and it's just it's advertised as medicine almost.

Right now, 24 states have decriminalized recreational use of marijuana and another 13 have legalized it only for medical uses.

Last fall, the Department of Health and Human Services advised the Biden administration to reevaluate how marijuana is classified. Then last week, the Justice Department said it was circulating a proposal to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule III drug. Those are drugs “with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” 

The change is likely still months away from being approved since there will be a public comment period along with more proposals and reviews.

JEFFREY SINGER: There's no guarantee that they'll give it Schedule III, but it's likely they'll do that.

Jeffrey Singer is a general surgeon and health policy expert with the CATO Institute. He supports legalizing most drugs, including marijuana.

He says changing how marijuana is scheduled won’t really change anything for someone who wants to use cannabis.

SINGER: Until the FDA approves it as a as a drug that can be marketed, it's still federally illegal to sell cannabis, even for medicinal purposes.

Singer says rescheduling marijuana would make it easier to do clinical research and allow retailers to take certain tax exemptions. But Singer thinks the government should go one step further.

SINGER: Cannabis should be descheduled. It's actually, compared to some other drugs that are not scheduled and readily available for recreational use, it's much safer.

He argues tobacco has similar health concerns with no medical uses, while detoxing from alcohol is much more dangerous.

But others disagree…

DAVIDSON: It has a higher potential for abuse and addiction than other Schedule I drugs.

Jordan Davidson is a policy researcher with Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

He argues that marijuana has gotten more addictive over the past 20 years thanks to cultivation resulting in more potent plants, and so should keep its Schedule I classification… That’s a drug “with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

DAVIDSON: Marijuana exacerbates a lot of mental illnesses. One of the causations of marijuana it's actually been established a causation marijuana use is psychosis.

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry says about 30 percent of people who try marijuana get addicted, putting it on par with heroin. But other studies suggest the number of people who get addicted to marijuana is more like 10 percent, putting it below nicotine and alcohol.

And what about the medical factor?

DAVIDSON: You think of marijuana as a plant. Right? Marijuana is a plant and that plant has hundreds and hundreds of compounds in it.

The FDA has approved cannabis-derived and synthetic cannabis-related drugs for medical use. But they are only available via prescription, and the FDA makes a clear distinction between cannabis and drugs derived from cannabis.

In other words, the FDA has not said smoking a joint is good for your health.

DAVIDSON: People are unsure about what it means. But what people are certain of is that Schedule III is less strict than Schedule I. Schedule III in people's minds means less dangerous.

So, is the answer education on the harms of marijuana?

Timothy Allen is certified in addiction medicine and pediatric and adult psychiatry.

He says people who use drugs aren’t thinking about the risks. They’re thinking of the benefits.

ALLEN: If I can give them something better, that allows them to deal with their anxiety, allows them to deal with, you know, what's going on in their life, allows them to deal with the stress of life. Then I can actually help them get better.

Proponents say marijuana can help with anxiety and depression, but back in Oklahoma, Andrew Tucker had a different experience. He started using weed because his friends were, but he kept using it to cope with anger issues, and they didn’t get better.

TUCKER: I got to the point where like, if I wasn't high, I was angry, like, any little thing would just tick me off.

But after the high wore off, he was still the same angry person. It took encountering Christ in rehab to figure out there was a better way to deal with anger, stress, and anxiety. And he thinks as long as he keeps looking at ‘something better,’ he’ll stay in recovery.

TUCKER: I went from probably not even going to graduate high school if I kept on doing what I was doing. But then again, like I say, I gotta look at how far I've come, like you know, I have a scholarship to college now and all that stuff, but I would have never had that if I kept smoking weed.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Mary Muncy.


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: When you think of baguettes, you probably think of France. But since 2019, it’s been Italy holding the world record for the longest baguette.

So last weekend in France, a group of bakers set on taking back the record wheeled a custom oven into a giant tent and got to work. Starting at 3 AM, they mixed and kneaded, then guided the giant loaf through the oven and onto a massive table.

They had to maintain traditional French baguette standards: 2 inches thick, made only from wheat flour, yeast, salt and water, baked in one continuous piece-that’s the hard part.

And when final measurements were taken.

AUDIO: I can confirm that this attempt has been successful. [Cheers]

So successful. The 461 feet loaf was more than 25 feet longer than the previous record!

LINDSAY MAST, HOST: And… another record bites the crust.

BROWN: It’s The World and Everything in It.


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, May 9th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.

LINDSAY MAST, HOST: And I’m Lindsay Mast.

This week on Concurrently: The News Coach Podcast, Kelsey Reed and Jonathan Boes talk with author and apologist Nancy Pearcey. Their discussion centers on discipling boys in a culture where boys and men are rapidly falling behind. Here’s a preview:

REED: We see that men are falling behind in education, employment, health and even life expectancy. So why are people ignoring the real problems that men are facing today?

PEARCEY: Boys are falling behind from the age of kindergarten, right? They don't have as good fine motor control as girls, and so they can't use the scissors as well. And all through high school, they're falling behind in both grades and test scores. Today, the average number of students in college is 60% female, 40% male, and more women than men are going to graduate school, going to professional schools like law and medicine. And then when they're out of school, men are falling behind. They're more likely to commit suicide, to have mental illness to be homeless, to be drug and alcohol addicted, to be in prison. You know, more than 90% of prison inmates are male. Male unemployment is now at Great Depression era levels. And then as you said, life expectancy and women's has stayed the same. So it's not a general trend. Only male life expectancy has gone down. I read an article on the data in a magazine called The New Scientist, and their conclusion was the single greatest demographic factor now in early death is being male. So I think it is time for us to say, isn't it time to have compassion on boys and men? Isn't it time to maybe have some programs that are directed toward them?

You can hear the entire episode of Concurrently today wherever you get your podcasts. And find out more at concurrentlypodcast.com.

BROWN: Coming next on The World and Everything in It: African Methodists find a way forward.

The United Methodist Church is the last of the big mainline denominations to leave behind Biblical orthodoxy. For years, its American and European branches have increasingly promoted homosexuality, gay clergy, and other unbiblical behavior. Last week, the denomination’s General Conference formally approved many of those practices.

MAST: But the large contingent of United Methodists in Africa wants to stick to Biblical orthodoxy. Now they’re trying to find a way to stay part of the denomination without compromising their beliefs.

WORLD’s Elizabeth Russell has the story.

AUDIO: [Singing in African languages]

ELIZABETH RUSSELL: Four months ago, 150 people sang and swayed to the beat of a worship song in a huge whitewashed room in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

They were a group of United Methodist pastors and laypeople from all over the African continent. For three days at the beginning of January, they met to hammer out plans for the denomination’s impending General Conference.

According to Zimbabwean pastor Lloyd Nyarota, their mission was to ensure the future of the United Methodist Church in Africa.

In Dar Es Salaam, Nyarota urged the delegates to support a plan to restructure the denomination along regional lines. That would give churches in different parts of the world the ability to set their own doctrinal standards. He believes it’s the only way African churches can stay in the increasingly divided denomination.

CHANTS: We were, we are, we will be UMC. Be UMC!

One version of that plan, called Worldwide Regionalization, passed its first hurdle on April 25th—during the denomination’s General Conference in Charlotte, NC. Delegates voted 586 to 164 for regionalization. Now that plan is headed to a wider group of lay and clergy voters for ratification.

If the plan passes, the UMC will restructure into eight regional conferences located in the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines. Each conference will set its own rules for clergy ordination, marriage rites, and church courts. They can also revise some parts of the UMC’s Book of Discipline, the source of its doctrinal standards.

One UMC lay leader says regionalization might keep the denomination together, but it’s not worthwhile.

MAFUNDA: My name is Simon Mafunda. I am a Zimbabwean, born and bred in Zimbabwe. And I have been a Methodist since birth.

Simon Mafunda helped draft several propositions sent to the General Conference. He says regionalization sacrifices too much in the name of unity.

MAFUNDA: If we do regionalization, or allow certain geographical parts of the denomination, to change definition of marriage, for example, or to preside over gay marriages, or to you know, to do all those things that they're fighting for. We are actually regionalizing the Bible.

Mafunda believes there’s no future for Biblically orthodox churches in the UMC. He recommends that they leave as soon as possible. That’s what a quarter of American Methodist churches did over the past two years.

But many African Methodists want to stay. Why are they so committed to the denomination?

One reason is that African cultures place a high value on institutions and community. Here’s how Liberian pastor Jerry Kulah explained it.

KULAH: You have heard the word Ubuntu. I am because you are, you are because I am. So we live together, we watch one another's back, and we'll help you know, to develop one another. Your concerns are my concerns. Your children are my children.

Methodist missionaries to Africa have built and supported schools and hospitals there for over a century. So for many people, leaving the UMC means breaking with not just their church, but also other cornerstones of their communities.

Money and resources are another factor. 99 percent of the UMC’s ministry budget comes from its American members. Rob Renfroe is the president of traditionalist UMC advocacy group Good News. He said one African bishop recently approached him with a dilemma. The bishop said he was uneasy with the UMC’s shifting morals. But his country has a 30 percent literacy rate. And the UMC funds many schools in his area.

RENFROE: So there I can understand somebody who has traditional Biblical beliefs, saying, I've got the beliefs that I must uphold and defend. I also am a shepherd of these people whose lives and their futures depend upon some of the opportunities and ministries that are provided by the United Methodist Church. There, I can see a real moral dilemma.

But African churches that stay in the UMC may still have resource problems going forward. Jerry Kulah thinks Americans will stop sending money to regions that maintain Biblically orthodox policies.

KULAH: They will determine where it goes and where it does not go depending upon who agrees with their philosophy, uh and their practices.

And those practices are already changing. The General Conference delegates just voted to allow gay clergy and remove penalties for officiating gay weddings. They also quietly changed the denomination’s definition of marriage. It’s now called a covenant between “two people of faith.”

Regionalization would let the African churches maintain their own Biblical standards, but they’ll still be associated with the larger UMC. This is a huge problem because homosexuality is a crime in many African countries like Uganda.

Kulah thinks approval of gay marriage could be the breaking point that drives African churches out of the denomination.

KULAH: Many of the United Methodists across Africa are very angry for all the changes that liberalize the church.

But when I spoke to Zimbabwean pastor Lloyd Nyarota before the conference, he believed most Africans would stay in the UMC.

NYAROTA: I know there are some Americans who say we will leave the church, that's okay. Some of them have left already. But Africa has made the decision, we are not going to leave the United Methodist, we will stay and shape a denomination that accommodates everybody.

The weeks to come will determine if he’s right.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Elizabeth Russell.


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, May 9th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

LINDSAY MAST, HOST: And I’m Lindsay Mast. Up next: presidential rhetoric.

Politics is often a dirty business, never more so than in an election year. But WORLD commentator Cal Thomas remembers several presidents who offered ideas and inspiration instead of just insults.

CAL THOMAS: Back in 2015, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush had this line during a debate with former President Trump: “Donald, you’re not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency.”

But today, both Trump and Biden seem to think they can do just that. At this point, we’re used to demeaning name calling. So, with recent talk of debates this fall, maybe both candidates should up their game by studying the master of insults himself—Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. If you haven’t heard of Triumph, he’s a dog puppet originally from the Conan O’Brian show.

Just imagine how useful some of his lines would be being directed at political rivals. For instance, to an overweight man, Triumph said: “Are you a separatist? Maybe you should try separating yourself from donuts first.”

Addressing a French person who spoke no English, Triumph said: “Pardon me, I only know your basic French expressions like ‘I surrender.’”

There’s a big difference between political insults and these comedic taunts, as well as those by earlier comics like Don Rickles and Rodney Dangerfield. For one thing, with the comedians, people were usually in on the joke. While sometimes sounding caustic, the comical barbs were meant to produce laughter. Even the targets of the jokes often laughed. That’s different from repeatedly calling your political rival a liar.

Where is the noble rhetoric from campaigns and presidencies past? Why the constant putdowns? We’ve regressed from the schoolyard to the barnyard.

John F. Kennedy had some good lines, including: “We can no longer afford to be second best. I want people all over the world to look to the United States again, to feel that we’re on the move, to feel that our high noon is in the future.” And there’s “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

Ronald Reagan always saw America as “a shining city on a hill” whose best days were ahead of us. When Reagan spoke of his political opponents, he often referred to them as “our friends in the other party.”

John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

This line from Franklin Roosevelt would be a good one for modern presidential candidates to embrace: “If you treat people right they will treat you right … ninety percent of the time.”

President Harry Truman is quoted as saying: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Reagan liked the saying enough to have it on his desk.

In modern politics, debating the best way to make America better has been replaced by a war footing. It’s DEFCON 1. Sadly, insults and anger seem to appeal to some voters. The price we are paying for tolerating this behavior is a diminished politics, which can only lead to a diminished and further divided country.

I’m Cal Thomas.


LINDSAY MAST, HOST: Tomorrow: John Stonestreet is back for Culture Friday. And, another installment in the Planet of the Apes movie franchise. We’ll have a review. That and more tomorrow.

I’m Lindsay Mast.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio. WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Bible says, “So now faith, hope and love abide, these three things; but the greatest of these is love.” —I Corinthians 13:13

Go now in grace and peace.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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