Joseph Avenue Christmas is the story of one man's journey to the true meaning of Christmas. Not just the birth of the babe, but the salvation of the soul. Set on the wintry streets of Rochester, NY it is a visit to the heart of that city and the hearts of some of its best and bravest people. From their good example, and the simple lessons of their own lives and faith, a troubled man finds on a dark Christmas Eve an escape from an increasingly failed life.
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The Nobel Peace Prize is a joke.
It is a political statement by a shrill committee of liberal elitists in some country that hasn’t been globally significant since the days of the Vikings.
The peace prize anymore is nothing but a chance to spit on the United States. Its recipients are unfailingly obscure foreigners who hate America.
The obvious exception is Barack Obama, who is not obscure.
At any rate, this week dawned with the announcement of this year’s recipient. In the opinion of the Nobel committee, the peace prize this year belongs to the European Union.
That’s right, the guys who are sitting on their hands while Greece and Spain take the world’s economy down the toilet.
But it’s not the EU’s fiscal incompetence that has earned this great honor, it is its peacekeeping abilities.
Under a novel theory of world history, the Nobel Peace Prize committee has decided that the European Union is responsible for the longest stretch of European peace in recorded history.
The Nobel folks say that Europe has been at peace since the end of World War II, in 1945. That must come as a surprise to Bosnians and Albanians, as well as whatever you call people who live in what used to be Yugoslavia. I suspect as well that Poland, Georgia and Ukraine – all essentially occupied by the Soviet Union for almost 50 years – didn’t consider the last six decades to be much fun. And, speaking of our friends the Russians, it’s quite likely that the people of Prague considered the Soviet tanks that rolled into their city in 1968 to be something less than peaceful.
But let’s leave the facts aside.
Let’s accept the claim that the years from 1945 to the present are the longest stretch of European peace in more than a thousand years. Certainly, if you only include the major nations – German, France, Britain, and their little brothers Italy and Spain – these years have been pretty quiet on the European continent.
And that’s a good thing.
But it’s unlikely that a peace that commenced in 1945 can be credited to an organization that began in 1993.
Sure, there were fits and starts of European organizations, but they were nothing more than very small debating societies. Fleas on the dog of unfolding world events.
So why did peace break out in Europe?
Amongst various peoples who have extensive histories of war and conflict, how is it that they’ve gotten out of the habit of trying to conquer and kill one another?
But it’s something the Noble committee could never recognize.
It’s the United States Army.
Modern peaceful Europe is a product of American military policy and the presence of tens of thousands of American soldiers right in the heart of Europe.
Yes, we have naval and air forces on or around the European continent, but it is the boots-on-the-ground presence of American soldiers that has been the prime tool of U.S. military policy in Europe.
See, we had to spank the Germans into submission twice before the 20th Century was half over. The impulse to empire was so strong that as soon as the grass grew on the graves of old soldiers, the nations of Europe wanted to send new soldiers into battle.
And we decided we didn’t want that any more.
So in 1945, after the Russians snapped up all they could get, we decided to stay. We decided it would be easier to prevent the next war than to fight it.
So we stayed.
Yes, we defeated Italy and Germany in Europe in the Second World War. And when we had obtained peace through victory, we decided to keep the peace. So we kept the ground.
We kept our Army in Europe.
In Germany, specifically.
And for more than a generation we, each summer, had a big exercise called REFORGER.
It stood for “return of forces to Germany.” We practiced moving hundreds of thousands of fighting men to Germany.
This entire effort did two things.
It kept the Germans down, and it kept the Russians at bay.
And that kept the peace.
The two expansionists of recent history, the Germans and the Russians, were looking down the barrel of our gun. The Germans did so as our allies, and the Russians did so as our enemies.
And it worked.
Russian dreams of a Soviet empire that included all of Europe failed. In the end, the Russians could go no farther than the Iron Curtain. They had only half of Germany, and nothing of France or the rest of developed, industrial Europe. The Russians failed in their ambition to conquer. And the great strength of the German people, with our mentoring and presence, was directed to productivity and stability.
Yes, the collapse of the Soviet Union and its vassal states, and the fall of various strongmen, led to some locally significant strife on the peripheries of the continent. But in the main, these last six decades have been the most peaceful and prosperous in the history of Europe.
And that’s not because of the European Union.
It’s because of the U.S. Army, and the nation it represents.
We set the policy, we paid the taxes, we manned the force.
And Europe reaped the benefit.
And the EU gets the credit.
At least in the eyes of the morons at the Nobel Peace Prize committee.