Friday, November 7, 2014

THE CENTRE DOES NOT HOLD

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

- William Butler Yeats

Like many others, I welcomed Election Day for one very important reason. It meant the cessation of ad after ad after ad, that points out more eloquently than words, how divided amongst ourselves our country seems to be. What should concern us all, is that 2 out of 3 Americans opted out of the election Tuesday last. It is hard to find another statistic that speaks to how disaffected the majority of our citizens are with our politics and our system. 

If a soundtrack is needed to illustrate my point, a few minutes of AM Talk Radio and Cable News easily suffices. We have seen years of "gridlock" in Washington, and the rhetoric has escalated in to a juncture where we actually can’t agree with each other, even when we really want to. The need to feed "raw meat" to an ever hungry audience, escalates the commentary from the TV and radio commentators, and (of course) the politicians. And creates this tastelessness. 



The posturing and name-calling raises ratings and campaign funds. It is also destroying our politics, our system, and by the constant appeals to the darker impulses of the human spirit. Those of us who have roots in Arizona, remember well the words of Barry Goldwater in 1964, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice....moderation in the pursuit of Justice is no virtue." Given the events of the past few years in our one state alone, it's questionable if the sainted Senator could even be nominated for his old office today. I question whether he would still utter his most famous words. 

There are some who minimize the acts of lunacy we have collectively witnessed, as the actions of psychos disconnected to politics and the culture that animates them. That denial ignores much deeper truths. We permit our politics to be conducted in a backdrop of violent terminology, violent graphics on web sites and video games, and ignore transparently outrageous comments like the often uttered "second amendment solutions." And when our divisions cause short term disasters and longer term calamities, nobody ever takes responsibility for the environment we have created. That group includes both the politicians and each of us. And we do bear a collective responsibility, for allowing it to go on and on and on....

Many claim to love God while using his name to justify the most horrible things imaginable. We hear too many voices of condemnation in the midst of this broken world. We hear far fewer teaching us how to respond to the anger, aggression, and hate , these times of danger and uncertain futures have created. Like it or not, our collective fear and frustration has created a metastatic disease that seeks to tear asunder anything outside of narrowly defined ideas and opinions. The same spirit of disillusion and dissension that permeated the country in the sixties has re-emerged in our society today. We hear too little about the implications, and even less about what is to be done about it.

If this is God’s world, it is not "mine" or "yours" or even "ours." We are called to live together, despite all our disagreements. A belief that God's work on earth is our doing, includes ordering society in a manner that business, government, and how we treat one another moves towards both justice and compassion, responsible citizenship, and awareness of our own imperfections in this fragile and fleeting life .

The world is the only place available for faith to be implemented. Our elections are often defined by talk of being "tough on crime." But "Law and Order" is not just about incarcerating ever growing numbers of people. In times of fear and bitterness, law and order also means refraining from echoing the irresponsible talk and drama heard over the air, and seen online. There is something shocking when we see people with high levels of education, continually posting on Facebook that they “hate the president of United States.” I was deeply troubled to know that less than a week ago, a man was almost elected to Congress, whose wife confided to a group, a measure of pride that her children only referred to the President of the United States by a racial epithet at home. 

The one third of us who voted in 2014, did so against a backdrop defined by well paid purveyors of hate. We wonder why there is "gridlock", while permitting campaign consultants to define even sincere holders of public office as traitors or worse. We allow "hired guns" to fill our inbox with e-mailed lies, and too often confuse their bitter harangues and accusations with fact. And then there are those who give approval to extremists through their tacit approval and ever increasing financial support when it helps win elections. The promotion of hate in 2014 was supported by large contributions, and the wearied indifference of all those who have given up.

MANY BLESSINGS - NOEL 


PS- MY FAVORITE SPOT FOLLOWS




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