Thoughts on Tomi Lahren

In case you missed it, Tomi Lahren has regained control of her Facebook page. Which means that we are about to be inundated with new ‘final thoughts’—though, one has to wonder why they are ‘final thoughts’ if they’re now the whole show. Tomi lost her gig as Provocateur-in-chief at TheBlaze recently over some comments she made on The View. This post will not address the comments she made—which have been addressed and refuted thoroughly. Rather, it addresses what I view to be the deeper problem with Tomi and what she represents for modern conservatism.

Shallow Conservatism

I have not cared for Tomi since she first skyrocketed to popularity. The very first time one of her ‘final thoughts’ videos meandered into my timeline I wrote her off as a flash in the pan that didn’t have the intellectual heft to last long. I must admit, I made a serious miscalculation—not just about Tomi, but about the whole 2016 election and possibly the modern conservative movement as a whole. I honestly believed that conservatives would see through her platitudes and recognize that her conservatism was inches deep. Conservatives didn’t want intellectuals, they wanted firebrands. Rather than gravitating to the pages of the National Review or The Wall Street Journal, they flocked to the Facebook page of a fiery upstart whose shtick was going on-air and lambasting liberals, millennials, and anyone else who opposed her views.

The people didn’t want reasoned, measured conservatism; they wanted bombastic, exaggerated pragmatism. Conservatives didn’t just want to win, they wanted to decimate and destroy. They wanted revenge for decades of insults, put-downs, and ill-treatment. I think this points to a deeper, systemic flaw in the current conservative movement—something I will write more extensively on later.

The Tomi Problem

Returning to Tomi, she offers an object lesson on why it is so important to have a reasoned and holistic worldview [1] and ideology. Please note, I do not mean that conservatives must or should be ideologues; only that they should hold to an ideology and allow it to inform their views on all issues. This is where Tomi erred. Tomi seems to hold to a conservative political ideology but she does not understand the philosophical roots of that ideology, and she does not allow it to guide her on all issues.

Conservatism has a certain set of underlying presuppositions. Chief among them, that the individual—created by God—is of inestimable worth. As such, the protection of human life is the first and predominant purpose of government. Whenever government fails to protect human life, it necessarily fails its first responsibility. Tomi, knowing only the platitude of ‘limited government,’ fails to make such a nuanced distinction. She does so because she does not have a thorough grounding in conservative thought and philosophy. She should recognize that that prohibiting abortion is a limited government position because, in doing so, government remains within its proper jurisdiction—protecting the life, liberty, and property of the people.

Sadly, Tomi is a conservative Icarus. Like Icarus, filled with hubris, she flew too near the sun. Someone once said, “when your visibility exceeds your credibility, you are heading for a fall.” This perfectly illustrates the ‘Tomi’ problem. Her worldview does not operate as a unified field of truth which is comprehensive and applies to all of life including all political issues. In short, her ideological foundation is insufficient. When you gain a platform, be sure your foundation is deep enough to support it.

[1] For and understanding of what I mean by ‘worldview,’ see the first section of Dr. Glenn Martin’s essay “Biblical Christian Education: Liberation for Leadership.


I know most of you don’t understand what it’s like to ask “is dad coming home?” instead of “when is dad coming home?” That’s ok. I don’t expect you to. I know most of you have never had comfort your sister because she’s afraid her dad won’t come home. That’s ok. Not everyone could do what my dad does. 

But here is what I do ask, next time you decide to take to Facebook and bash the police, take a minute and think about it. Remember today. Today the sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters of four Dallas Police Department Officers are weeping because their police officer went on shift and isn’t coming home. The loved ones of 7 others will have nightmares for years, as some of them will put the uniform back on because when duty calls, the police answer. And think about the families of the thousands of officers around this country who want just one thing in this life: for their police officer to come home. 

Here is the other thing I ask: take a few minutes today, go on YouTube, and search “police officer attacked by suspect.” If you think that cops just are out there preying on black men then you need a wake up call. Are there abuses? Yes. Are there bad actors? Yes. However, they are few and far between. But you need to understand that at any moment in a police officer’s interaction with a suspect, things can, and often do, go sideways. Police are a target. The nature of their job places them in harms way. Until you understand that, until you’ve seen cops shot, beaten, run over, and killed in the line of duty, I’m sorry, but your criticism carries no weight with me. 

A lot of people say their dad is their hero, but mine really is a hero. David Griesinger is the most caring and compassionate man I know. He spends most nights in a squad car protecting the people of Grand Prairie, Texas. Grand Prairie is about 20 minute from downtown Dallas. My dad will put the uniform on for his next shift and he will continue to do his job despite the shadow of four fallen and seven wounded officers. Why? Because my dad is a hero. When everyone else is running out, you can find him running in, along side his fellow officers. When duty calls, the police answer.

So send up a prayer for my dad and for all the police officers who’s only wish is to come home to their family tonight. Send up a prayer for the spouses who can’t help but worry. Send up a prayer for the kids who have to ask the question no kid ever should–is daddy coming home? And send up a special prayer for the ones who got their answer late last night.


Photographing the National D-Day Memorial – Bedford, Virginia

After several weeks of drowning in coursework, I finally had a chance to visit the National D-Day Memorial again and, this time, I brought my camera! It was a chilly and overcast day but even so, I was able to get some great shots. The memorial breathtaking in the amount of symbolism it contains. If you are ever nearby I highly recommend stopping by. To learn more click here.


The Virginia State Capitol: Birthplace of American Representative Government

Photo: Kyle Griesinger
Virginia State Capitol Photo: Kyle Griesinger

Historical Significance

[dropcap]The[/dropcap] Virginia State Capitol has a rich and storied history. In 1780 the Capitol was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond, meeting in a hastily built temporary facility until the permanent capitol building could be completed. The permanent capitol building was designed by Thomas Jefferson and completed in 1788. The design was inspired by the Maiso Carrée at Nîmes, built by the Romans in the late Christian era. In addition to serving as the home of the Virginia State Legislature, it also played host to the government of the Confederate States during the American Civil War. The building was expanded in 1904 with the addition of two wings housing the new House and Senate chambers respectively. In 2007, it was further improved with a massive underground expansion.

Photo: Kyle Griesinger
George Washington, Jean-Antoine Houdon Photo: Kyle Griesinger

Preserving the Likeness of American Heroes

In addition to housing the state legislature, the Capitol building serves as a quasi-museum highlighting many notable Virginians and their contributions to American history. One thing I found interesting is that the statue of George Washington, housed in the building’s rotunda, was sculpted by the Frenchman Jean-Antoine Houdon. He began by creating a ‘life mask’–a plaster mold–of Washington’s face and taking extensive and meticulous measurements of the former Commander in Chief. Houdon’s scrupulous attention to deal resulted in his creating what has come to be known as the most accurate representation of the former President.

Preserving America’s Republican Tradition

Another curiosity which I found particularly interesting, given my passion for government and politics, is that in 1700 the Royal Governor of Virginia gave the House of Burgesses an ornate mace (similar to a scepter only larger) as a symbol of the colonial legislature’s right to rule. In 1792, following the American War for Independence, the Legislature decided to retire the mace, noting the inconsistency of using a royal symbol in a republican legislature. After which they spent two years attempting to devise a design for a new mace that would highlight the state’s republican system. One notable suggestion came from Thomas Jefferson; he suggested a sword wrapped in a scroll. Something about that imagery just speaks to me personally; I imagine what Jefferson was trying to express was the manner in which the law, specifically the constitution, superseded the tyranny of coercion in the new nation–though this is purely speculation. Ultimately, the plan was abandoned due to concerns about the cost of the new mace. The original mace was, nevertheless, sold for a paltry $101. However, nearly two centuries later, in 1974 the House of Delegates acquired a new mace which is in use to this day.

Bust of Sam Houston Photo: Kyle Griesinger
Bust of Sam Houston
Photo: Kyle Griesinger

Quality of Experience and Preservation

A significant portion of the Capitol is dedicated to the rich history of the building itself; it was designed by Thomas Jefferson, is home to the first legislative body in the western hemisphere, was home to the Confederate government, and survived–among other things–the fall of Richmond. This history is featured in a visually stunning timeline that wraps around an entire room shortly after you enter the building. The building itself has been beautifully restored and preserved. Especially the original House Chamber, which now features busts and statues of numerous notable Virginians–the bust of Sam Houston is of particular interest to this displaced Texan. One thing I think would greatly improve the Capitol experience is more digitally interactive displays; for example, the museum could have a mobile app developed that serves as a digital self-tour guide. Ultimately, however, it should stand as a model for other state capitols; the history of the building as well as of the notable Virginian’s has been wonderfully preserved and is beautifully and robustly presented through visual displays and expertly guided tours.

Virginia State Flag flown over the capitol building when it housed the Confederate Government Photo: Kyle Griesinger
Virginia State Flag which was flown over the capitol building when it housed the Confederate Government
Photo: Kyle Griesinger

Downtown Lynchburg, VA Photography

I decided to do a little exploring in Downtown Lynchburg, VA. It is a beautiful old town whose architecture just drips with history. The city was settled in the mid-1700s and experienced industrialization in the 1880s. The age of the city is apparent in its construction; you regularly find modern buildings right next to turn of the century factories and shops. Lynchburg is a beautiful mosaic of modernity and antiquity.


5 Things You Should Do When It Seems Like Your Life Is Falling Apart

Originally written for Inside Out Magazine and published in Feb. 2015.

At times in life it seems like nothing is going according to plan.

The path, ever so carefully laid, seems to be crumbling at every turn.

Your “Five Year Plan” is starting to look more like a pipe dream than anything else and you just don’t know what to do. On days like that it’s easy to sit around and wonder what you did wrong and why nothing seems to be going your way. That has been my life recently.

The last few months have a merry-go-round of disappointment, unmet expectations, and hopes dashed.

So what do you do when it seems like nothing is going your way?

I don’t know. I am trying to figure it out, but I just don’t know. So if you came here looking for a step-by-step guide to turn your life around I am sorry to disappoint. I am just like you, a normal guy trying to figure out this sometimes beautiful, often baffling, always complex thing called life. But I have found a few things that can help keep the melancholy at bay.

1. Set Goals And Reach Them

I am talking about the kind of goals that you can reach in a day or a week. Don’t get me wrong, long term goals are important but what you need right now is a shot in the arm of accomplishment not the seemingly far flung hope of a long term goal. So set a goal you can reach today. Maybe it’s to go for a run, or to write a blog post, or something else entirely, just accomplish something. Then set a goal for the week. Maybe it’s to finish something you’ve been putting off, or it could be just to read a book. It really doesn’t matter what your goals are, just so long as you are accomplishing them.

2. Revel In The Small Victories

When you accomplish something, even something small, take note. when something good happens, take note. And celebrate the little wins. I got a 28 on the ACT, one point better then my long-shot goal. That is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life but when it seems like nothing else is going your way even little things need to be celebrated. One of my new years resolutions is to get a jar and whenever something good happens to write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar so that at times like this when I am feeling down I can open up the jar and see all the good things happening in my life.

3. Reach Out To Friends

This can be especially hard for guys, when we’re down our natural instinct is to isolate and muscle through our problems. The problem is that that isn’t healthy. One of the first things God said about human beings is that it is not good for us to be alone. Isolation is no way to live. We were meant to have fellowship with other people and sometimes you just need to talk about your problems with someone.

4. Unplug

Maybe it’s time to log off Facebook for a while. If you find yourself wallowing in self pity after you get read social media it’s probably time to give it a rest. When you compare your life to other people’s Facebook timeline it’s like comparing their highlight real to your behind the scenes. Sometimes you just need to take a step back from the virtual connections and connect to real people in real life.

5. Pray

Don’t think I am just tacking this on at the end to earn Jesus Points. I want it to by the thing you walk away from the post with, so I want it to be the last thing you read. God doesn’t want us to come to him just when things are good, and when things are going according to plan. Pour your heart out to God, tell him how you’re feeling, tell him what’s wrong, tell him your fears, after all he’s the only one who really knows whats going to happen tomorrow, or next year for that matter.


Why You Need To Start: One Key That Changes Everything

I can’t even begin to tell you how many posts I have written but never pressed the publish button. And I ask myself why. Why did I give up after the post was already written? After the hardest part was done, why is it that step I am most unwilling to take is to simply click the publish button?

think a lot of people have this same problem. Whether it’s with writing, business, relationships, or anything else, we have an inherent fear of clicking publish, a fear of taking the leap and committing. We believe what we have to say, we trust our business instinct, we know how we feel about that person, but we’re afraid to click publish and expose those beliefs, instincts, and feelings to other people. We fear the reaction of others more than we believe in ourselves.

In my own life, I have found this to be caused by three things.

  1. Fear of rejection.
  2. Fear of failure. 
  3. Feelings of inadequacy.

These three forces combine to create, what I call, The Triad of Inaction. The Triad of Inaction works to insulate us from our fears but ultimately succeeds in destroying any influence we may have.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

William Shakespeare

The antidote to the Triad can be summed up in just two simple words:

Just start.

I am not saying its easy, our fears will always seek to hold us down because once you start overcoming them you realize, it’s not that hard and when that happens your fear no longer controls you.

Starting can be terrifying, most of your life you’ve been training yourself to minimize your exposure to criticism and starting flies in the face of that. Starting is the opposite of what we naturally do. Starting takes courage, starting takes faith, and starting takes just a little bit of crazy.

So how do you start, starting? Start small. Start telling that special someone how you really feel. Sure its terrifying, because they could reject you, but whats the worst that could happen? They walk away, you learn, you move on. That’s not so bad.

The best thing about starting is that it get easier. the more you start the more you want to start. The more you want to start the more starting becomes a reflex instead of a choice. When starting is a reflex you don’t even have to think about it, you just start.

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt