I have been thinking long and hard about the issue of a divided country and community. While considering this and all of its remifications on our nation and our community, it is proven inescapable to separate my own journey toward validating who I am and what I believe and stand for.
It has become easier now than before. The conventions have shown me the worst of civic responsibility. What is apparent over all matters is the overriding sense of self; entitlement, negativity, and a willingness to lay blame in every direction but one that takes you inward.
During breaks in the coverage, I saw Ken Burn's mammoth service to society on PBS called WAR. I saw Americans of every color, ethnic origin, demograpic background sacrificing life and limb for America. Worse, the horror of the concentration camps, the firebombings and, of course, the atomic bomb srikes on Japan.
Back to the convention, I listened to a Sandra Fluke babbling about contraceptives. I saw a GOP representative intoning the phrase, the "American People expect us..... " What extraordinary bull. The degree of pandering, the expressed unwillingness to vote outside one's race, or so much more, led me back to my own journey and...
I am part of the problem! I accept the unacceptable. At my most pious, I couple a Mayor sending his children to a camp outside of the City or a County legislator requesting a better City school for his children, or a President doing the same thing. How does this compare to a lack of community based governance, the willingness to work toward the real issues; read unemployment nationally and developing our business district locally, to those venial "sins" of going a little further for ones' children.
I recognize "children" like other selfish banalities are forms of little murders of the community trust. Yet.....
I must turn inward and my confession would be incomplete, invalid, dishonest to a fault if I did not confess to my belief that organized religion is as wrong as organized politics. If I believe in community, the empowerment it brings to all, then I must believe in the one God, the one embodiment of community, Jesus Christ, and passionately deny the affront of the formal churchmembers who preach one thing and do another, the churchgoer who believes that h/she has a unique message or calling, and as bad, the banal athlete who points to the sky in the midst of a chest bomb and goes out that evening and commits mayhem.
As a work in progress, I must confront the serious issues around self-doubt. Who can look at the concentration camp, the slaughter of innocents on the streets of Syria, and the daily recklessness of wildly shooting into crowds invariably striking, perhaps killing an innocent child.
I cannot take this in stride.. I search into Niebuhr, Tillich, Heschel, so many others. I see the extraordinary examples of Lincoln, Mandela, Gandhi, so many others.... and wonder.
Well here it is for me Primum Non Nocele or do no harm.
My explosive rage disorder, any and all impediemnts on this journey pale before journies taken by so many others. In our community we have spiritual people, Jim Killoran is a perfect example to me, who heal by deed not word. Actually, even Bob Cox provides a balm by opening up this blog to those who seek a voice.
What can I promise? For one, the best I have in me to be as positive as I can to bring things that work. I will invest in my neighbors and in those elected to govern over us albeit they are part of the problem of being detached from the reality of community and unaware of the power they hold to heal.
I now know with no doubt what Socrates meant when he said, "I know nothing." In a reflective moment, I can see that his calling was to critically examine those that claim that they knew more than he could accept and questioned both source and approach.
We could use him now. The rhetoric, the sophistry, the sheer non-responsiveness of actions directed at the periphery and not the core, are frightening and if not addressed, God Help us all.
No, I don't need to hear Sandra Fluke any more than revel in old fat ass' comment about her sexual nature. This will not get my neighbors work. This will not help a promising child pay for a better school.
Here is a healing thought. Barack Obama, come out of the closet and address racism by celebrating the fact that, like so many of us, you are multi-racial. Maybe others will follow and it could ease the way in embracing a nurturing parent who provided care, and perhaps, let all of us see what Skip Gates could and has shown us by basic DNA profiling on his show on celebrity ancestry. If you are connected to something positive.... damn it, I am talking about consensual choices of creating a child, how can you not acknowledge that.
It would help. And, if you do that, perhaps I will not make cluck my tongue in a disrepectful way if I pass Andie McDowell on the street. She keeps talking about makeup and "you're worth it."
That is how stupid and venial we become.