Monday, 30 January 2017

Lazy and cowardly politics

This morning, as I gaze upon the world's political scene, I find myself drawn to a number of passages, quotes and thoughts.

The first comes from the poem 'New Colossus' by Emma Lazarus - a passage found on Ellis Island on a statue that once signified a proud nation and the hope of a new life for many:
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

The second comes from Edmund Burke; it is a passage that so often I find myself repeating on Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January) as I talk to children about the penalties of letting self and selfishness rule our hearts, actions and nations:
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Moving on, in the silence around me I find the words of Leviticus 19 echoing in my ears:
"When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God."

As I pray I find the words of Micah adding weight to my thinking and they lead me to a place where I have no wiggle room; a place in which the moral high ground is obvious and assured:
"And what does the Lord require of you?
  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

On the 27th January 2017 - Holocaust Memorial Day - the United States, through an Executive Order  made by the President, effectively negated those words on the Statue of Liberty and the question has to be: "What will the good people of the United States do?"

The only 'true' American is the Native American - and I think history shows how they have fared in their own land at the hands of invading foreigners - for this land of imported people appears to be  populated by jingoistic immigrants led by a man who appears to stand for everything that America used to claim it didn't.

The 'Land of the free' has always been a bit of a misnomer as in fact it has always been a land where money talks and the thin veneer of civilisation is almost nonexistent in places. Another (mis)quote, this time from the pen of George Orwell (and the lips of Napoleon - the eventual leader of the world that the animals create):
"All men are born equal, but some are more equal than others!"

This observation is made as a reflection on the failure of the ideals of social justice, equality, and cooperation that is Communism and yet, are these not these words perhaps the epitaph for America as it formally puts aside the 'land of the free' label and instead takes up the always been there reality of the land of the self-serving, self-interest, and self-absorbed?

On Holocaust Memorial Day 2017, the signing of an Executive Order on immigration finds resonance with the Germany of 1933! Now don't get me wrong, every nation has the right, No - the responsibility, to protect its mationals from terrorism and attack, but this should be done by use of intelligence (a word that doesn't always sit well alongside 'American') and compassion married together.

The problem is that this costs money and takes commitment and Trump, in his 'making America great again' is looking to do it on the cheap whilst creating something jingoistic and worthy of a tin pot nation. Being great at the expense of those around you, building walls of brick and rhetoric, seeking to create 'third world' conditions in other nations; ignoring the plight of the oppressed, the poor, the marginalised - well that's the legacy Trump has (subliminally rather than explicitly stated) inherited and seeks to formalise.

And will our government kowtow to the bully like school kids trying to befriend the big kid in the classroom?

You know, I think it will. I really fear that our Prime Minister and her supporters in Westminster would rather have  'friendship' at any price than integrity at the cost of a 'special relationship' that ain't that special or real anyway.

For a nation that can so easily (apparently) walk away from the strength of a united Europe and look to being 'great' again, it seems there might be little to separate us from the US on many more levels that is comfortable or right; and the belief that we are a nation who stands for what is right might just about to to be shown up for the lie that some fear it might always have been.

I'll leave the last word to Larry Norman and some of his lyrics as he reflected upon the United States he saw:

I was born and raised an orphan in a land that once was free 
In a land that poured its love out on the moon; 
And I grew up in the shadows of your silos filled with grain, 
But you never helped to fill my empty spoon. 

And when I was ten you murdered law with courtroom politics, 
And you learned to make a lie sound just like truth; 
But I know you better now and I don't fall for all your tricks, 
And you've lost the one advantage of my youth. 

You kill a black man at midnight just for talking to your daughter, 
Then you make his wife your mistress and you leave her without water; 
And the sheet you wear upon your face is the sheet your children sleep on, 
At every meal you say a prayer; you don't believe but still you keep on. 

And your money says in God we trust, 
But it's against the law to pray in school; 
You say we beat the Russians to the moon, 
And I say you starved your children to do it. 
You say all men are equal, all men are brothers, 
Then why are the rich more equal than others? 

Father, forgive us, for we know exactly what we do

 Interestingly, someone else has pointed to another Larry Norman song, which seems als to (sadly - as the 'Doomsday Clock' has its countdown deceased) fit the situation before us:

Life was filled with guns and war and everyone got trampled on the floor 
I wish we'd all been ready
Children died the days grew cold, a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold 
I wish we'd all been ready 

There's no time to change your mind - The Son has come and you've been left behind 

A man and wife asleep in bed, she hears a noise and turns her head he's gone 
I wish we'd all been ready 
Two men walking up a hill - one disappears and one's left standing still 
I wish we'd all been ready 
There's no time to change your mind - The Son has come and you've been left behind 

Children died the days grew cold, a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold 
I wish we'd all been ready 
There's no time to change your mind - The Son has come and you've been left behind

The Father spoke the demons died, how could you have been so blind ?
There's no time to change your mind - The Son has come and you've been left behind


Anonymous said...

Don't you think that what we are seeing also relates to Larry Norman's "I wish we'd all been ready"?

Anonymous said...

Spot on !

Great passages to work with and obvious conclusions available to all with eyes to read them.

Anonymous said...

But you would say that because you're obviously a liberal.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the second song. It's very good. I'm poster 1, not 3, above.

I'm afraid I'm also the hypocrite-finder general, for which sincere apologies.


Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Thought I'd posted here - you're welcome, I loved Larry Norman as a baby Christian (and still do).

and to the person who thinks OI'm liberal: Thank You for the smile :-)