Commentary: America’s Youth Experience a Great Awakening, Coronavirus-Style

by Jeff Rendall


The Great Awakening.

History books tell us “The Great Awakening” was (according to Wikipedia), “The First Great Awakening (sometimes Great Awakening) or the Evangelical Revival was a series of Christian revivals that swept Britain and its Thirteen Colonies between the 1730s and 1740s. The revival movement permanently affected Protestantism as adherents strove to renew individual piety and religious devotion. The Great Awakening marked the emergence of Anglo-American evangelicalism as a trans-denominational movement within the Protestant churches. In the United States, the term Great Awakening is most often used, while in the United Kingdom, it is referred to as the Evangelical Revival.”

Sure enough, when Americans – at least those well-versed in studies of the past – hear the term “Great Awakening” they likely picture preachers starkly dressed in black suits positioned behind makeshift pulpits in crumbling old buildings ministering to flocks of congregants cowering in fear, the holy man pointing his finger skyward while admonishing them to get their sinful lives together or face judgment (and damnation?) at the hands of an angry God. Today’s media condescends on such medieval concepts as piety, religious devotion and morality as paternalistic and “so yesterday” when pitted against today’s modern, enlightened novel sensibilities.

Hence the rise and spread of political correctness. It’s gotten so bad we’re even ordered by the ruling elites to eliminate gender pronouns, and the Associated Press Stylebook is instructing journalists to cease using terms like “mistress” when referring to a man’s extra-marital dalliance.

Cultural erosion and eventual destruction has long been the Left’s aim, so conservatives are conditioned to the non-stop assault on tradition. But there’s another type of “Great Awakening” occurring among recent graduates due to the economic catastrophe foisted upon the world by the Chinese Communist Party (or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus. COVID-19 continues to keep many of us physically separated from our workplaces and social forums. It turns out that young people are finding the perfunctory post-graduate job hunts to be exceptionally arduous these days.

This great awakening is reality-based and cruel to those who were reared in pampered public school environments where students’ feelings are held sacred and teachers are sometimes escorted away for speaking ancient truths.

And contemporary “preachers”, at least some of them, use racism and income inequality as propaganda tools to try and spread anxiety about the future. Former president Barack Obama was particularly inspired when he spoke to this year’s shelter-in-place high school diploma recipients via remote connection last weekend. CNS News staff reported, “Obama gave a video commencement address to graduating high school students on Saturday in which he lamented what he called this ‘country’s deep-seated problems,’ including ‘massive economic inequality’ and ‘ongoing racial disparities.’

“’This pandemic has shaken up the status quo and laid bare a lot of our country’s deep-seated problems – from massive economic inequality to ongoing racial disparities to a lack of basic health care for people who need it,’ Obama said.

“’It’s woken a lot of young people up to the fact that the old ways of doing things just don’t work,’ he said.”

Why didn’t Obama just come out and say it: “Trump equals economic inequality and he’s increasing the racial disparities in America, too. Therefore, those of you old enough to vote should register as Democrats and get behind my favorite lapdog, Joe Biden. Who cares if he’s a ranting and raving doddering old coot who’s like a thousand years old in canine years? He’ll bring home the bacon, man.”

In all seriousness, Obama spoke like the true left-wing community organizing rabble rouser he is, didn’t he? To be fair, the content of the big O’s message didn’t differ markedly from commencement addresses I’ve suffered through in recent years when attending my daughters’ (one high school, one college) ceremonies. The sense of dread a right-thinking person undergoes when the program moves towards the keynote speaker is tangible, because experience teaches the lecture will invariably include arrogance and virtue shaming from the high and mighty authority figure (who you’ve never heard of) dressed in ornate post-doctorate robes and ribbons.

What Obama blubbered to ascending high schoolers isn’t surprising considering he based two presidential campaigns on cultivating as much envy, hatred and jealousy as he possibly could among the voters. For if you’re poor and living in a deteriorating brownstone slum it must be because your skin color is black or brown or a perceived lack of opportunity. All the while, the privileged in society purposely keep the helpless waifs in squalor for personal amusement alone. Or something like that. (Hollywood celebrities and the liberal super-rich exempted!)

These are the same secular clergy who “preach” how illegal aliens shouldn’t be rounded up and deported and that the border deniers be called “undocumented immigrants” who merit legal status, all the government goodies they can consume as well as entitlement to free healthcare, liberal social services and education for their kids. The fact that billions upon billions is sprinkled on uninvited squatters that have no legitimacy to be occupying space on Uncle Sam’s soil doesn’t matter a lick to Obama and his ilk.

Instead, the former White House occupant delivers further warnings to eighteen-year-olds about challenges of “racial disparities” and “deep-seated problems” as though sightings of KKK robes (except in Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s med school yearbook) are commonplace and tribute is required to keep the goon squad from roughing up pedestrians. The “problems” Obama mentioned do exist in cities like Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco where vagrants defile sidewalks (a sanitary way of saying it) and children are cautioned to avoid stray syringes.

How did this out-of-touch man ever win two presidential terms? Where’s the airy crapola about “hope and change” and transforming America into a post-racial society where everyone holds hands and sings Kumbaya on cue? Didn’t wife Michelle say, “When they go low, we go high”? What does it mean, anyway?

Young Americans today are waking up to a new world alright, but it isn’t solely because COVID-19 has infiltrated the mindsets of people everywhere. If college grads are facing a tougher-than-ever job market it’s due in large part to government policies that have wreaked havoc on service industries that rely on human-to-human contact. From day one, President Donald Trump offered optimism and confidence that the economy would recover from this panic and citizens shouldn’t be resolved to expecting today’s conditions to endure indefinitely. It’s mostly Democrats who’ve hinted that lockdown orders will remain in place until they deem it safe to go out again (one notable exception is Colorado’s Gov. Jared Polis, a diehard liberal in every way but is taking a common sense approach to reopening).

The industries where many lower-income people work – and where newly graduated ex-students might find their transitional employment – have been especially offset by the arbitrary government edicts of the doomsayers. Any locale that relies heavily on tourism is likely on its final footing. Here in Williamsburg, Virginia, restaurants partially reopened last weekend but are operating at severely restricted capacity – and we still can’t go to the mall… because it’s closed. Driving through the parking lots it’s sad to recall when the stores were full of shoppers. What’s happened to the clerks and managers who staff them?

The hotels are empty. Resorts barren. The College of William and Mary (one of the oldest institutions in America) is isolated and lifeless. And for what?

Further, the politically correct prison constructed by Obama and liberals has instilled in people an attitude that it’s beneath them to take temporary positions that will put food on the table while they pursue dreams of bigger and better things. Are these the “old ways” Obama referred to? Just look outside and you’ll see landscapers and construction trades still toiling as though there was no such thing as the coronavirus. Business is booming for some workers. And they don’t wear masks, either.

But don’t try going to Costco without a face covering these days.

Obama probably never worked a day in his life, who is he to lecture?

Instead of trashing tradition and “the old ways,” Obama should’ve given the youths a stern dose of realism – like a preacher in the Great Awakening — that it will take good ‘ol fashioned hard work to get ahead and people shouldn’t expect the government to bailout everyone who doesn’t get exactly what they want every hour of the day. And that sacrifice builds character and fosters a sense of community. Previous generations were used to difficult periods and relied on skillsets to fill gaps in employment. My grandpa (a carpenter) used to say everyone should learn a trade because there will always be work – and earning capacity – for those with willingness to sweat who possess skills people need.

It’s true – you don’t see many men and women with calloused hands in the unemployment line. Government handouts are only intended to cover short periods of time, not to guarantee years of dependence. How about asking young people to stop feeling sorry for themselves and pull together like previous generations did during wartime and depression?

The extent of the coronavirus panic is still yet to come. It’s certainly true that those set to enter the workforce encounter enormous obstacles, but they aren’t permanently insurmountable. Despair and desperation will inflict far greater injury than the virus – and the political class would do well to follow the example of President Trump in conveying a vision of strength and determination rather than helplessness and hopelessness.

Today’s “Great Awakening” is changing the world. But it doesn’t have to be desperate. Sometimes not getting what you want can be a wonderful stroke of luck (thank you, Dalai Lama).

Grampa Joe Biden’s poll numbers aren’t what they should be

Amongst the oppressive doom and gloom in the media’s coronavirus coverage are polls showing Democrat nominee-to-be Joe Biden maintaining a slight lead nationally and in some key states as well. But beneath the raw numbers are troubling signs for the former Obama veep. Paul Bedard reported at The Washington Examiner, “New York should be a ‘softball’ for former Vice President Joe Biden to hit out of the park, but he is struggling with key groups, according to a new Zogby Poll.

“Zogby suggested that what’s happening in New York could be a signal of other issues Biden could face nationally.

“’Joe Biden is struggling in New York if you dig deep into the numbers. Even as he enjoys a mini-moment leading in some polls against Trump, New York should be a softball, but he struggles with important groups like younger voters aged 18-29, white voters, suburban voters and suburban women. He really needs to win over the ‘Bernie Bros.’ Could this be a sign of things to come for Biden in other states?’ said his analysis.”

In other words, Grampa Joe is underperforming, which proves his all-negative-all-the-time spiel isn’t winning any converts. The voters that support him do so because they’re primarily anti-Trump, not because the basement bunker Democrat’s shaky interviews are inspiring them.

Trying times call for leaders with special qualities. Trump’s signature bluntness and fondness for Twitter may set some people off, but Biden’s frequent displays of anger and bitterness aren’t the solution. Grampa Joe can’t match Obama’s talent for tearing down the world yet still coming across as an upbeat great guy.

The racism, economic inequality and dissing the “old ways of doing things” message sounds a lot less convincing when Biden says it. And it looks like the younger demographic groups think Joe’s full of hot air. Needless to say, if Obama and cohorts can’t somehow rally the Democrat voting blocs… he can’t win.

Every day it seems we’re awakening to a new set of surprises during the coronavirus pandemic and resultant economic panic. Recent graduates will have their own special challenges in the coming weeks and months and they don’t need more fear mongering. Now more than ever, we need the optimism of President Trump.

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Jeff Rendall is a senior contributor at










Reprinted with permission by

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