Thursday, September 4, 2008

against every form of tyranny over the minds of men and women

thomas jefferson said, "i have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the minds of men."
this is one of my personal mottos as well. my role is to encourage and inspire freedom from enslavement, hope amidst fear, and courage in the midst of chaos.

i watched parts of the speeches at the republican party's national convention last night. i watched mike huckabee and rudy giuliani and then sarah palin. i was disappointed and sad and mad.
what flared up for me last night watching her deliver the message she was bringing and embodying for her audience, is that what's wrong is to appeal to, and play on, and descend to, the politics of fear and the fortress and the bunker and the us vs. them ...
it's wrong. it's low. it's a retreat into hatred. it's heartbreaking. i thought mccain would do better.
i don't believe that that's what obama wants. perhaps he's prevailed upon the voices in his party that encouraged him to play dirty, that that's not how to make true change and health and wholeness for this nation and the world happen.
everybody was wondering during the democrats' convention, when the strong message would come. hillary? bill? biden? nope. it was obama himself, who spoke with clarity and forceful support of what he believes is best for america, and not just america, but the world. and not just some americans, but all americans.
he spoke to the issues. he spoke up to charges that had been brought against him. and yet also spoke with respect, and openness, and never belittled john mccain or the republicans or anyone else. he spoke of possibility.
i didn't see that last night. i am sad about that. and i want to fight against smallness of mind - not by fighting back, but by standing and saying No.
when jesus talked about turning the other cheek, he was advocating not rolling over in passivity, but standing up. saying to the slave master, "you may hit me again, but i will not be moved. you may beat me, but i will still stand here and refuse to react with violence - and yet not run, and not play your game." which is how jesus lived. and how we who are following jesus --- which often has nothing in common with cultural christianity --- are to live just like that.
now i see that i was wrong in my post a few days ago. it's not the same shit only different politicians. we have a choice, a real one. we can choose fear, or hope. we can choose to be safe by demonizing and condescending to our enemies, or we can choose to treat people - even, and perhaps especially, those with whom we disagree - with respect as fellow children of god. we can be preoccupied with how we have been mistreated, or we can work toward healing and reconciliation. we can build fortress walls, and barriers, and division, or we can choose to find ways to hold to the center of what is good - and yet also allow for differences and complexity. it takes more courage. i believe we are capable of that courage.


Anonymous said...

Look at the information on war cost in your blog home page. It is clear to me that we/America are not Jesus in your analogy - rather, we are the guy doing the beating. We are doing it over and over and over, again and again and again. I believe that the voices you are hearing from the conventions are the conflicted voices of that guy. How part of him/us thinks (or maybe more accurately "hopes") there must be some other way, and part of him/us thinks that we will succeed with just a few more slaps... I believe that the courage you speak about is the willingness to admit that "the meek shall inherit the earth," that power is antithetical to relationship.

Rick Diamond said...


Chiron' said...

This is too long, but I got wound up. Post it if you like, or not, no worries.

To be completely balanced here, you'd also need to have a scrolling indicator to show the cost to American Citizens of illegal immigration. Chances are the numbers would be MUCH HIGHER, (if, we could even FIND A WAY to describe the destruction of a culture using dollar signs) That's just a nit to pick, but the REAL issue is ever so much bigger than such silly things as the destruction of America's middle class. The REAL issue is, how do we intend to maintain the value system that created the America that every person in the world headed in this direction decided was so great? How do we do this when the sheer mass numbers of people coming here, do so to claim their fair share of the American Dream, all the while thumbing their noses at the longstanding values which CREATED the America that they so much desire to be a part of? How do we, those of us whose great grandparents bled sweat, tears, blood and hardship to MAKE this country what it is, find the way to be accepting and open to these people who do not come to America to be American, but rather come to America to be whatever heritage they are HERE? In the old days they wouldn't call these people "immigrants". They would call them "invaders". How do we as a people open our hearts and our lands and our resources to people who do not care what their importing their country into ours DOES to us?

The meek will certainly inherit the earth, the only question is, will they actually WANT what they inherit when they GET it?

Power seems to corrupt. I have seen it twist the sensitivities of people I would never have thought could be touched by it's seductive siren song. As the most powerful country on the planet, are we to continue to hate ourselves for the empire that we have built? Will dissolving our identity into a nameless faceless mass of people controlled by uniformed power make us feel less guilty of our good fortune? No.

It takes real courage to realize that we ARE the leaders of the world, and that we MUST continue to do our best to insure that those who cannot fight for themselves are represented by us in their struggle for survival. Anything less is a lack of integrity of the "forces of good".

Real evil is when a good people stand by and do nothing in the face of something obviously wrong. The catch is that what may appear wrong with a magnifying glass of x10 may NOT appear wrong with a magifying glass of x20.

This is universal. From countries to disagreements between people.

REAL courage is the courage to be seen as vulnerable. REAL courage is the courage to share with others and not fear that they will get/take the control/power for themselves.

Power is an illusion. The only power we EVER have, is the POWER to be who we are. The power to do what is right in the face of adversity. The POWER of forgiveness in the face of extreme injury.

SOMEday, we as the human race will finally realize that there IS NO RACE. We don't have to be a rat. We can instead, just be.

nonprofitprophet said...

I liked Chiron's comments. I really don't get the "cost of war" counter anyway. What would be the cost of not having the war. And in "the war", I assume the war on terrorism. Would we need a counter for American Lives Lost due to radical extremist who would surely have killed more of us had the opportunity arisen? How would one calculate the fact that we haven't been hit again? I understand the politics of it - but whats the alternative? ~npp