Music to Crossover Artists’ Ears

Music is the soundtrack of our lives. Or so it’s been said.

But there really is something to it.

Music makes us happy when we’re feeling low. Dance when we didn’t know we could. Rest when there’s no way to sleep. Try when we’ve already given up. Laugh when we feel like screaming. And cry when the tears have run dry.

For a lot of us the music soundtrack has been cradle lullabies, toddler rhymes, grade school chants, high school musicals, college choirs, graduation themes, heartache tunes, romance ballads, wedding marches…Then it starts all over again.

The soundtrack of our lives is typically personalized for each of us, i.e., it takes on different forms for individuals and societal groups. In the music business, this is what the industry calls “genres.” Grammys are handed out in the different genres, or categories, by the droves.

There is one category of music that started out rather small, and in relative terms, not that long ago. It slowly grew in popularity and at one point seemed to take off like a race car.

The official category is Christian Music. In contrast to the musical and vocal performances that were heard in the traditional hymns of the past, contemporary Christian Music has a style that, aside from the lyrics, is many times indistinguishable from Billboard’s Pop, Rock, or Country categories.

Christian Music grew from a folk rock fringe type of music in the 1960s to become a major genre, which has been embraced by a huge segment of the population that is seeking positive-oriented music as well as lyric content that sets forth faith expressions and timeless truths.

“Crossover” is a term used in the music business to describe a performer or song that appeals to two or more types of audiences that represent two or more types of musical genres.

A Christian Music performer is catapulted into the arena of crossover artist when he or she starts out being marketed to Christian-oriented outlets and venues, but additionally finds that sales of recordings are selling in other mainstream markets as well.

The reverse may sometimes also come to fruition. An artist who starts out as a mainstream pop performer, but whose music and/or lyrics contain themes that Christians can relate to, may also find a newfound audience in one or more crossover categories.

Amy Grant was one of the earlier Christian artists to make the leap into crossover. In the 1980s and 1990s, Grant segued from a sole Christian audience to an additional pop music audience as well.

In 2001 a little known Christian performer named Katy Hudson released an album to Christian outlets, but the recording didn’t quite lead to the desired success. Crossover magic happened when Katy Hudson changed her marketing strategy, and her name, to Katy Perry.

Carrie Underwood became a mainstream success after winning the 2005 fourth season of “American Idol.” She highlighted her Christian faith in many of her recordings, including “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Temporary Home,” and “Something in the Water.” In 2020, Underwood released a faith-filled Christmas album titled “My Gift” that added to her crossover credentials.

Other notable Christian crossover artists from country music ranks include Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Rascal Flatts, and Brooks & Dunn.

The notion of the Christian crossover artist reached unprecedented heights rather recently with the popularity and success of two super star level artists: Lauren Daigle and Kanye West.

Two-time Grammy Award winner and multi-platinum selling Christian music artist Daigle is a consummate crossover, having expanded her audience from her original Christian fans to the world of mainstream pop.

Daigle’s single “You Say” experienced record-breaking success on the Christian and Pop Billboard charts. The song held the number one position for all of 2020, its second straight year, and is the longest-running No. 1 title ever to appear on the weekly Hot Christian Songs chart.

For the last three years in a row Billboard has named Daigle the Top Christian Artist.

Then there’s Kanye. He’s not only one of the best-selling artists of all time, he’s among the most critically acclaimed artists in the whole world. Winner of twenty-one Grammy Awards, Kanye has earned praise from music critics, industry peers, cultural figures, and fans from Hip-Hop to Christian.

Kanye’s song “Follow God” placed second on the 2020 Billboard Hot Christian Songs list. His album “Jesus Is King” landed number two on the Top Christian Albums year-end chart. He was the leading Christian male artist of 2020, according to Billboard, as well as the year’s top Gospel Artist. His album simultaneously placed high on multiple charts.

Kanye is best known as a super star rapper, but over the course of his career he didn’t shy away from featuring his Christian beliefs. After his song “Jesus Walks” became a hit, he was quoted in the New York Times on the nature of his faith.

“I will say that I’m spiritual. I have accepted Jesus as my Savior. And I will say that I fall short every day,” Kanye shared.

During a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show, he was asked by Kimmel if he would consider himself to be a Christian music artist, now that he had committed himself fully to Christianity.

Kanye replied in a way that may have been thought provoking for the host and viewing audience as well.

“I’m just a Christian everything,” he said.

When Two Thoughts Collide

It was the day I, Ella, finally made up my mind to run as far and fast as I could. Todd was the only person I would tell. He holds my secrets and I hold his.

It’s been that way ever since we met in Mr. Evan’s class ten years ago. I would never have made it this far if he hadn’t been there to tell me that “everything always looks better in the morning.” Even when things didn’t, he could make me believe that someday they would.

I gathered up a bunch of stuff that I thought I’d need to get me through the next couple of weeks. Backpack loaded, I slipped out the slider door.

It would turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes that I would ever make. But it would also lead me to some of life’s greatest awakenings.

I headed to a spot where the family had vacationed when we were actually a family. North of Ventura, it had a small town feel, yet was still a place where work could be found and people didn’t ask a lot of questions.

There was a bulletin board in the coffee shop that the locals checked out each day. One post caught my eye. It was an invitation to a “meet and greet.” Just what I needed – friends.

I was met by smiling faces, soothing music, and a home-style meal. Couldn’t wait till the next meet-up.

Cecie was the outgoing one. Such a free spirit, so self-assured, and so much fun to be with. Jeanie was more soft spoken, loved one-on-one conversations, and was as bright as she was beautiful. Geoff led with his intellect and entertained with his wit.

Then there was Peter. He was the proverbial high school star quarterback, prom king, and class valedictorian all rolled into one. He owned any room he walked into along with everything in it. Like everyone else, I was awestruck by his confidence and demeanor.

The fifth meeting was so different from all the others. I had moved in with my newfound friends and was contributing to the household. Meetings had become more formal. Conversations centered on more intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual subjects. More and more it seemed that my roommates were delving into my background, family connections, and friends on the outside.

There was some drug use going on, but mostly only pot. And there were some love interests and interactions, but nothing that you wouldn’t see in your typical college dorm.

At first things didn’t bother me. But as time passed, I started to feel uncomfortable. Not really knowing why, I wrote the discomfort off as just “feelings.”

Little daily pleasantries, like catching up on the news, checking out social media, or texting a friend, especially Todd, started to be sort of frowned upon. Hard to explain, but the pressure to just be with our own little group began to build.

Sleep started to elude me and confusing thoughts plagued me.

“What’s happening to me?” I whispered.

Voice to self: “Ella, am I still here?”

*********************

This is Ella’s story. But it is also the story of thousands of others who have been caught in the grip of a destructive cult.

– The young woman was at a vulnerable point in her life, ripe for recruiting.

– Her immediate physical needs were being attended to, supplying her with comfort and security.

– Friendships were cultivated, satisfying one of the most basic human needs for companionship and love.

After being lavished with attention and affection, through a process that cult experts characterize as “love bombing,” Ella was sufficiently conditioned to let her guard down.

This is the point at which some future benefit is “presented.” A cult recruit like Ella is programmed to believe that the dominant trusted friend (cult leader), along with the other trusted members of the group (fellow cult members), know the secret path to enlightenment, power, personal happiness, and other such things related to the nature of the cult in question.

There’s a catch, though. The cult recruit must now agree to conform with cult beliefs, requirements, and protocols in order to gain access to the “wisdom” and “benefits” that the inner members enjoy.

One of the most powerful forms of conditioning that an individual can be subjected to is the inducement of “cognitive dissonance.”

This term was first used by social psychologist Leon Festinger to describe a tension in the human mind that arises because of the presence of two or more beliefs, which are unable to coexist, thereby creating a conflict.

Human beings naturally seek harmony. If there is a disruption of mental consistency, this will place an individual or individuals into a vulnerable state. Destructive cults seek first to induce this state and then to exploit it.

Wildly false messages and directives are communicated repeatedly, which generates mental tension, i.e., cognitive dissonance, and softens up the cult recruit for further mental conditioning. Eventually, the cult recruit is likely to accept big lies as truths.

In fact, if some contrary concrete evidence is actually presented to a conditioned cult member, he or she will many times stubbornly reject the facts and even double-down on a false belief.

This phenomenon is something Festinger calls “belief perseverance.”

It is a sign that a soul has taken another ill-fated step toward total mind control.

‘Cult’ Is in the Eye of the Beholder

The word “cult” has been in and out of public discourse for many decades.

For a lot of people, just the sound of the word piques interest and a natural curiosity, likely due to the initial dictionary definition.

So let’s take a look at some dictionary definitions.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word “cult” as “a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious.”

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the word “cult” as “a religious group, often living together, whose beliefs are considered extreme or strange by many people.”

For years the freedoms that we have enjoyed in our country have allowed us to engage in unorthodox religions, if we so chose.

These same freedoms also allowed us, if we so chose, to live together with others who shared our beliefs, regardless of whether society generally considered the beliefs to be extreme or strange.

Of course, those who had chosen to participate in what some in society perceived as, or even specifically designated as, a “cult” still had to abide by existing laws.

Now over the course of time, the word “cult” began to be used more frequently. It also began to be applied more broadly and even took on a negative connotation, which then allowed it to be used to insult or disparage an individual or group.

I contend that the word “cult” has actually crept into our common vernacular and is creating a significant problem. Because societal members think they are talking to one another, when they are really talking past one another.

They are operating on distinctly different denotations and connotations of the word, which will inevitably result in confusion and friction between parties.

Sadly, some people are simply unaware of what is taking place. Other people are being deliberately provocative and are actually desirous of the negative outcomes that are flowing.

Let’s delve a little deeper into cults themselves.

Cults were initially and more commonly associated with religion. But as I mentioned earlier in this article, the definition has broadened over time and may now encompass types other than religious ones, such as ideological, communal, etc.

Psychologist Sharon Farber distinguishes between groups that are merely unconventional religious organizations from those that she calls “destructive cults.”

According to Farber, destructive cults are “groups that use manipulative techniques and mind control to heighten suggestibility and subservience.”

She writes that these destructive cults “tend to isolate recruits from former friends and family in order to promote total dependence on the group.”

These are the dangerous groups that employ mind control techniques to become the sole masters of the individual or individuals, whom they seek to subjugate. The end goal is to break down will and obliterate individuality.

“The aim is to advance the goals of the group’s leaders, which is to have total control over members,” Farber explains.

A powerful tool used by dangerous cult leaders to control the minds of their members is the creation of cognitive dissonance.

Human beings have an innate need to seek intelligibility and maintain order within their minds in accordance with what they perceive to be the outside world.

“Dissonance,” a word borrowed from the world of music, comes from the word “disharmony,” which is an unpleasant combination of musical notes.

In the event a conflict exists between an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and/or behaviors, he or she will feel compelled to reduce such a conflict and seek resolution.

Cognitive dissonance occurs when what one is doing is at odds with one’s worldview and internal belief system.

Dangerous cult leaders are those who deliberately try to foment dissonance within the minds of others, specifically those whom they seek to control.

This may be accomplished by denying an individual or individuals the access to certain information, while oftentimes simultaneously conveying misinformation or disinformation.

The ultimate goal is to successfully manipulate the thinking process, emotional state, and outward behavior of those that the dangerous cult leader or leaders seek to control.

In an effort to secure this goal, members are separated from family, friends, and peers and are typically kept in isolation for extended periods of time.

Materials that may serve to undermine a dangerous cult message, i.e., newspapers, television, the internet, and the like, are kept away from the individual or individuals, who are in the process of being conditioned.

The emotional state of the individual or individuals, which is oftentimes the more insidious portal of access, may be further manipulated through use of contradictory messaging that quickly transitions; this may result in the experience of numerous emotions moving rapidly from one to another, which imparts the sensation of intense instability.

Indoctrination may also be accomplished by severely filtering the content of the information that is allowed to be seen by the individual or individuals, so only that which will reinforce the dangerous cult narrative is permitted.

Dangerous cults manipulate language itself, with certain words and phrases being banished from use and others undergoing a constant redefinition.

Isolation continues to grow in length and depth, and the individual or individuals being conditioned are further manipulated into thinking ill of people and circumstances that exist outside of cult bounds.

When dangerous cults implement these types of mind control techniques, the consequences are destructive to the very inner essence of the human being, according to Farber.

This kind of cultic mind control is “the intentional attempt to stamp out or compromise the separate identity of another person,” Farber asserts.

Esteemed psychoanalyst Leonard Shengold calls it “soul murder.”

Fame and Misfortune

It’s a strange world in which we find ourselves.

The start of the New Year confirmed to many of us that some individuals we thought we knew so well weren’t the same folks we thought they were.

Many of them appeared to have transformed into a new persona literally overnight, leaving people, who had supported, admired, and trusted them, in a state of disbelief, distress, and overwhelming sadness.

The depth of duplicity to which they had sunk shocked us to the core. But it did something else too. It set us on a path to find out how human beings can cause so much hurt, do so much damage, and care so little about what they had done.

I would like to offer one explanation, which is based upon my academic background and application of sociological, cultural, and media psychology principles.

There is an insatiable human need to be loved. We are social creatures who look to one another to supply this crucial component of our very survival.

As evidence that we are loved by others, we constantly seek affirmation, i.e., outward signs that sum up the degree and substance of the affection and esteem in which we are held.

In our present-day society, just as in societies of old, fame defines the amount of acclaim an individual has acquired at a moment in time.

In my book “Hollywood Nation,” I had the pleasure and honor of interviewing the late Joel Siegel. The legendary film critic told me a fame-related story about President John F. Kennedy, how he broke with tradition by not wearing a fedora hat at his inauguration.

Hats at that time were a part of the standard look for men. Siegel mentioned that even at “ball games they wore a hat.”

But when, at such an important event, people saw the fedora missing from JFK’s head, suddenly the fashion attire went out of style.

Siegel’s Kennedy anecdote helps to provide insight as to why seemingly insignificant things surrounding famous people actually matter a great deal.

For a long time now, I have suggested that in our society those we place on the celebrity pedestal greatly influence us. In many instances, we actually hold affection for them and innately desire the affection to be mutual. Consequently, we often seek to emulate them.

In my book “Tales from the Left Coast,” I note that each of us longs to be accepted. And we also seek some evidence that we, as individuals, belong to something larger than our singular selves.

In wanting to belong, we frequently alter our behavior to fit in with the behavior of others, i.e., we conform to societal and cultural norms. Whether or not the conformance is a good or bad thing may hinge upon the circumstances, context, and applicable ethics.

A natural fear that we all carry, albeit one of which we may not be conscious, is fear of death. Our survival instinct compels us to try and alleviate this fear as best we can.

People of faith are able to dispense with the fear of death with the theological reassurance of an afterlife, which is far greater than the earthly one we currently experience or any that a human mind could ever imagine.

For those lacking in the above-described belief system, or a similar spiritual ideology, fear of death may be lessened by thoughts of achieving a type of immortality that fame might seemingly offer.

Our inner awareness of our mortality at the conscious or subconscious level may lead us to seek protection from the fear that we will someday cease to exist.

Psychologist Orville Gilbert Brim, who collected data on the subject of fame with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, opined that fame is “like belief in the afterlife in medieval communities, where people couldn’t wait to die and go on to better life.”

According to Brim, the desire to achieve fame ultimately springs from the human need to be part of a group, to obtain acceptance and approval.

The antithesis of one who is adored is one who is an outcast.

When we receive love and adulation from our fellow human beings, it is the highest of highs. Likewise, when we are rebuffed, rejected, and/or exiled it is the lowest of lows. In fact, the latter experience is tantamount to death.

According to Sigmund Freud, the pursuit of fame can be explained by the subconscious impulses that relate to our need to be recognized.

These impulses are more predominant in those who have stronger ambitions, which may explain why some people have a heightened need to pursue fame more fiercely.

The notions of – the pursuit of fame, the need to hold onto it once it has been secured, and the desire to make it grow ever larger – are woven together with the impulse to conform.

In my assessment, this would explain why so many people, the likes of which I described above in my opening, caved so easily to other influential individuals and groups, whom they most longed to please, and whose continuous acceptance they still desperately desire.

It is a hollow choice that these people made.

And they may soon come to know that fame is fleeting, but misfortune oftentimes lingers.

The ‘Great Reset’ Is Huxley’s ‘Brave New World

The dystopian novel “Brave New World” was written in 1931 by visionary Aldous Huxley.

In his book, the author describes what life is like in a society that is under complete domination of a group of hardened autocrats.

It is a tyrannical tale with a twist, however. Members of this society are kept in a state of perpetual bliss, despite having every aspect of their lives from birth to death controlled by a power-drunk ruling class.

It is a society in which power is concentrated in the hands of a few, communication of information is meticulously managed, and endless distractions prevent people from thinking, reasoning, or imagining.

A drug is routinely dispensed to the masses, so as to facilitate the exile of perceptible sensations of pain, stress, or anxiety. Unhappiness is avoided through excessive indulgences in materialism, sexual promiscuity, and altered states of mind.

A synthetic religion substitutes for authentic faith. Technology is god, and as such is worshiped and adored. Pre-conditioned slaves delight in their own enslavement.

Enduring human connections are reflexively thought of as repulsive. The optimum relationship status is summed up in seven short words of the state maxim: “Every one belongs to every one else.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently appeared on Prager U’s The Book Club to discuss Huxley’s “Brave New World.”

In an engaging discussion with host Michael Knowles, the senator pointed out that slogans of the government “sound wonderful but they’re all about destroying self, destroying who you are.”

The ultra-totalitarian state in Huxley’s fictional world is splattered with virtuous sounding slogans. But as Sen. Cruz explained, global governance, the likes of which is seen in “Brave New World,” is “designed to produce a subservient collective.”

Sen. Cruz also talked about the many parallels in Huxley’s “Brave New World” to the communism of today, explaining that in the modern world, communism “is the ultimate totalitarian communal state.”

It just so happens that, in the real world, there is a group called the World Economic Forum (WEF). The group is comprised of a number of ruling class elites, who meet on a regular basis to determine the political, ideological, and societal direction of the world.

Attendees of the WEF include a host of global government advocates, such as chief executives of Big Tech, the U.N. secretary general, the president of the European Central Bank, the secretary general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, union leaders from select countries, and representatives of left-wing political and environmental organizations.

Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, recently wrote an article titled “2021 should be year of the ‘Great Reset.’”

In the article, Schwab proposed that 2021 be designated as the new “Year Zero.”

Schwab borrowed the term “Year Zero” from the year immediately after World War II, a time when the world had to be rebuilt following the devastation that had occurred in war-torn regions.

“This time [2021] the focus is on the material world but also on so much more. We must aim for a higher degree of societal sophistication and create a sound basis for the well-being of all people and the planet,” Schwab wrote.

He contends that free markets and limited government, which have actually produced decades of prosperity and progress, constitute instead a model that, in his words, has “broken down.”

Consequently, the world, in his opinion, is in dire need of The Great Reset, and 2021 is the perfect year for the launch.

Eerily, the model that the Davos elites are proposing is strikingly similar to the one that Huxley previewed for us all.

One word, albeit unspoken, hangs over all of the cunningly crafted phrases that describe The Great Reset. That word is control.

The final outcome that promoters of The Great Reset envision is one of a highly regulated society, a massively intrusive government, the annihilation of individual liberties, and a centrally planned economy.

At the June 2020 meeting of the group, members expressed the idea that the COVID pandemic could be used as a means of implementing their radical agenda.

While at the meeting, Prince Charles said, “We have a golden opportunity to seize something good from this crisis.”

In June of 2020, Schwab wrote the following: “The pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world.”

He also disclosed the expansive nature of the reset, suggesting that “all aspects of our societies and economies must be revamped, from education, to social contracts and working conditions.”

Much like the society in “Brave New World” the WEF envisions a populace that is sufficiently content with being manipulated.

A video promoted by the WEF declares that by 2030, “You’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy.”

Viewers are presented with footage of drone deliveries of goods that put the smiles on consumers’ faces.

Let’s stop and take a brief look at what has happened over the past ten months to so many people here in our own country and around the world.

– Millions have been deprived of individual freedoms at the hands of authoritarian leaders.

– Millions have witnessed the destruction of their businesses and livelihoods.

– Millions have been denied the opportunity to work and have endured severe economic hardship as a result.

– Millions have been living under strict mask mandates and social distance dictates.

– Millions have been forced out of their places of worship.

– Millions have been barred from attending school on campus grounds.

– Millions have had curfews imposed upon them.

– Millions have had neighbors, co-workers, members of the community, and digital devices monitor them and report them to the authorities.

-Millions have had their speech curtailed on social media platforms.

The list of infringement upon our freedoms at the hands of modern day autocrats goes on forever.

I think in order to avoid our own “Brave New World,” we need to counter The Great Reset with The Great Return.

The return to freedom.

The Post-election Deception

Still the land of the free…for now

As explained by the U.S. Department of Defense, psychological operations, frequently referred to as PSYOP, are a means of communication used to “convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.”

In other words, PSYOP are used to relay certain information to governments, groups, and/or the public in order to elicit a desired predetermined response.

Although the “Year of the Pandemic” is about to come to a close, there are few, if any, who would be able to claim that they have escaped the PSYOP reach.

Still, while “selected information” was being taken in by a trusting public, other information, particularly that which may have posed a challenge to the prevailing narrative, was being attacked, dismissed, marginalized, suppressed, or even censored altogether.

Of course, use of this approach to manipulate members of a society is more akin to the thought processes and practices of totalitarian regimes than it is to the United States of America.

Countries ruled by autocrats routinely use PSYOP on their own people. The public is looked upon as if it were a military enemy. In these instances, the media, as well as the internet, are held in a vice grip so that a sparse degree of information is actually able to reach the public at large.

The list of players that have engaged in the PSYOP deception is quite long. It includes the establishment media, entrenched politicians, multinational corporations, Big Tech, and the Hollywood Left.

The above described PSYOP model actually appears to have been broadly implemented in the United States over the last ten months or more, with the target group being anyone who happened to be living here.

The manner in which facts surrounding the 2020 presidential election have been treated serves as a prime example.

The conveyors of information have denied the existence of a mountain of evidence that includes irregularities, incongruities, and outright fraud surrounding the election.

There has been a concerted effort to perpetuate two falsehoods: first, the claim that no such evidence of election fraud exists; the second, the repeated mantra that the election is “over” and everyone needs to “move on.”

The first falsehood supports the fallacious premise that the 2020 presidential election was conducted in a legitimate manner. It was not. Even former Attorney General William Barr, among others, admitted that there was fraud.

The second falsehood seeks to sweep the rigged election under the rug. The nation cannot. The Republic ceases to exist without free and fair elections.

At the present, approximately half of the country believes that the election was conducted in an illegitimate manner. These are the folks who are not just distrustful of the way the election was conducted. They are the folks who have lost trust in their government; lost trust in their elected officials; lost trust in the complicit news media; lost trust in the social media; lost trust in the tech companies; and on and on.

No doubt, the use of PSYOP on an unsuspecting public played a major role in the vanquishing of their trust.

However, this type of undermining typically leads to cynicism, which can be unhealthy for an individual and fatal to a society.

One thing is for certain, though. Approximately half of the country has absolutely no trust in the fake would-be president.

On the other hand, they have all the trust in the world for the real one.

Dark Night of the Soul for America

The phrase “The Dark Night of the Soul” originally came from 16th century Spanish poet and mystic St. John of the Cross.

These words capture and convey the spiritual experience that a soul undergoes as it strives to reach union with the Almighty, despite temporal discouragements.

The now-popularized expression has been referenced over the years by a diverse array of authors and artists, including poet T.S. Eliot, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, and singer-songwriter Van Morrison.

There is an additional application of the phrase that has been adopted by the entertainment industry.

In his best-selling book, titled “Save the Cat,” author Blake Snyder divides the pacing of storytelling into structural components that take place over time. Snyder even pinpoints the specific page of a film script at which the appropriate dark night moment should take form.

The cinematic moment should materialize at the end of the second act of a story, the point of desperation at which the protagonist is in a hopeless situation and all appears to be lost.

I contend that at this present moment in time—those of us who have held fast to our founding documents, to the virtues and ideals that are embodied therein, and to the knowledge that we are entrusted with the responsibility to preserve for our families, friends, and loved ones the treasure we have been given in our beloved America—we are at the end of the second act of one of the most intense dramas our country has ever endured, and the stakes are monumental.

In the scenes that preceded this critical point, powerful interests worked in unison to engage in a wide variety of illicit activities, both in the lead-up to Election Day and in the days that would follow.

The chairman and CEO of a Big Tech company donated hundreds of millions of dollars to a non-profit organization, which represented that the money was intended to assist with the voter turnout effort.

However, activities of the entity appear to have favored the encouragement of the voter turnout of one party in particular, the Democratic Party. This entity appears to have also encroached upon the constitutional powers of state lawmakers, and may have used money to manipulate certain aspects of state elections, including the counting of ballots.

Additionally, some state officials appear to have changed ballot security rules on their own, discarding the notion that the power to do so is in the specific purview of state legislatures.

When it came to the content that was published and/or distributed in the lead-up to the election, Big Media and Big Tech at times distorted and at other times lied outright. Highly relevant news stories were never investigated, were completely ignored, or were censored altogether.

The polling industry, too, disgraced itself with exaggerated polls that were specifically designed to suppress voter participation of those with opposing ideas.

In essence, half the population is now being told to reject what they have seen with their own eyes, heard with their own ears, and know in their own hearts; that on election night, the vote counting of several states was halted, with no explanation given. When it once again commenced, suddenly there were massive quantities of votes that came in for the Democratic presidential candidate.

In congressional, state, and local races, voters turned away from Democratic candidates, yet they still managed to vote for the Democratic candidate for president.

In record numbers, African-Americans chose the Republican candidate. Nevertheless, the Democratic presidential candidate somehow received 11 million more votes than former President Barack Obama did in 2008.

Then there were observers who were not allowed to watch mail-in ballots being opened and counted. There were those who were dead but who came back to life to vote. And there were those who were outside their various jurisdictions but who were allowed to cast ballots anyway.

While feebly calling for unity, the Democratic candidate also established a sham entity that his campaign called “the office of president-elect.” And the same people who spread false information about Russia-gate and Ukraine-gate are now urging folks to move on, claiming that there is nothing to investigate and that the American people should graciously accept their candidate of choice.

That all of this might make the almost 74 million voters and supporters of President Donald Trump feel less than hopeful is an understatement.

But my admonition is simple. This is not the time to give up or even grow weak. Rather, it is the time to take heart.

In the “Save the Cat” pacing of storytelling, “The Dark Night of the Soul” leads to a conclusion that makes for an epic saga. What follows the lowest of low points is an unexpected breakthrough that enables the protagonist to overcome seemingly impossible odds and secure victory.

I like to think of it as “The Bright Light of the Spirit.”