No one but a rebel can get their mitts on God
Wish the cares of others well.
If you really want to do something for those you love
want to leave a lasting legacy for this world
You need to climb higher, or reach deeper within
and what you then find, well …
Well, you won't need to think about what to do with it;
God spoke your every word in His mind before
your birth. And one movement of His hand
contained your every act.
There is an Infinite Knowledge that has always
existed, and it resides in everything. And that will
someday dawn on you, for you are the Infinite's heir.
Real Knowing never makes love to choice, or even considers
the un-predestined an option.
For maybe and choice ….. are worlds one outgrows.
Still fire burns, and who is not careful around it?
In honor of Veteran's Day, I thought it would be an appropriate reminder to identify a few highlight of our country, from birth to the present, and consider her growth and changes through psycho-social-political-spiritual lenses from 1776 to 2019 in this United States of America.
If we can begin by understanding a Republic form of government as distinguishable from a monarchy, we can have a greater appreciation of the reasoning of America's founding fathers as well as their commitment.
Reading the first lines of the Declaration of Independence, we can grasp the motivation and consensus of the signers of the original thirteen colonies, wanting to honor the birthright of what they understood as their inherent agency; to follow their belief regarding the laws of Nature and her God respectively, as they understood them. And in their situation, it was the commitment to their belief that led them to separate from their English motherland and the political bands of a religiously oppressive monarchy, in favor of the hardship of relocating to America to establish a form of government known as – a Republic. The opening paragraph of our Declaration of Independence states the reason for separation from England as well as their commitment to belief in a higher power.
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” July 4, 1776
The republicanism on which our country was founded, included a framework which centered on limiting corruption and greed. Virtue was of the utmost importance for citizens and representatives. Revolutionaries took a lesson from ancient Rome; remembering it was necessary to avoid the luxury that had destroyed the empire. A virtuous citizen was one who ignored monetary compensation and made a commitment to resist and eradicate corruption. The republic was sacred. Therefore, it was necessary to serve the state in a truly representative way, ignoring self-interest and individual will. Republicanism required the service of those who were willing to give up their own interests for a common good.
According to Bernard Bailyn, “The preservation of liberty rested on the ability of the people to maintain effective checks on wielders of power and hence in the last analysis rested on the vigilance and moral stamina of the people…”
Virtuous citizens needed to be strong defenders of liberty and challenge the corruption and greed in government. The duty of the virtuous citizen became a foundation for the American Revolution.
America is still a Republic today, and with the incorporation of democracy in 1964, the privilege to participate in government was granted through the power of voting; one vote, for every … adult ... citizen.
But over time, it seems that having been granted the opportunity to participate in the political process of our country's government, isn't enough for some people. There are citizens who do not wish to give up their own interests for a common good, but rather seek to bring about a reinventing of the wheel making individual preference the epicenter of choice – a manner that pushes hard against ideals of virtue and giving up self-interest for a common good.
The focus on individual preference, emerged a little over twenty years ago, as part of a theory termed Rational Choice was introduced. A theory felt by social scientists to be revolutionary movement of power, it was referred to by its proponents, as the social or public choice theory, consisting of broad categories ranging from free market conservatives to Marxists. A theory appealing to “liberals” by virtue of privileging the liberal over the participatory, it also opened the door to redefining, democracy – and in the attempt to redefine democracy, defining “choice” is central.
But part and parcel of defining democracy, meant understanding the term as a method rather than an ideal. And as a method, implementation of Rational Choice meant that democracy should be carried out by the politicians and political scientists and not the voters, because, “the business of politics is only for the politicians and not for those who elect them.”
While Rational Choice theorists tend to identify democracy as honoring individual choice; it is faced with humanity's vagarious nature:
- The overshadowing of what is considered “dubious goals of securing common good or popular participation”.
- Citizen choices are not worth making, because they are; either too insignificant individually to make a difference or are often counted in ways that end up distorting the very things that are “supposed” to be honored. (Example: for women; experiencing a “double-blind” due to pressure to be an ideal mother and an ideal employee)
- A belief that common “good” cannot be achieved, due to being experienced as fraudulent when invoked.
Tracing our country's beginnings and development, we can better understand the respective path of how we got here, and the culture we've made, by reflecting on the qualities and values that have been kept or abandoned, honored or dishonored, respected or maligned.
In his book titled The Night is Far Spent, author Thomas Howard tells us that “the only way of assessing a given culture is to study its artifacts – the things it has made. We make things for the purpose of struggling toward reality, and our image-making faculty, our imagination – bespeaks the truth about us.”
And it is out of crumbled pillars, aqueducts, towers, churches and paintings from history, we can see evidence of civilizations and culture with written languages, edifices built to last, judiciary systems, complex governments and engineering.
We also see statuesque images of man – as a hero; Nimrod, from the 9th century, Gilgamesh from the 8th century B.C., Beowulf's manuscript surviving since 975 – 1025 AD, and the saint. And all of these images of culture, their buildings, their language, their art, indicates a connection – to the Other, namely God – up until about 150 years ago.
It seems at that time, humanity made a massive retreat, from the Other, as recognized in the external world, then from ourselves, and finally a retreat from The Other, The Holy, God. And instead of relating to life as a gift and having meaning, we have seemed to live our life as the epicenter, focusing on our individual preferences without ever considering giving up our own interest for a common good.
But, thankfully, there are stories that remind and inspire us as to what it looks like to be a hero – we just have to be reminded of them. Some of the stories we know, are the heroic stories of saints – of David who fought Goliath, of Esther, who saved her people from death. Other stories we know, are the heroic stories of the settlers, namely, the Pilgrims, who came to America, enduring tremendous hardship for the chance of religious freedom.
And there are other stories, referred to as fiction, that inspire the soul, reminding us of the courage of ordinary individuals - like the Baudelaire children in Lemony Snicket's, A Series of Unfortunate Events; Violet, Klaus and Sunny, who were able to navigate terrible hardships, because, they are the sort of people; “who know that there's always something. Something to invent, something to read, something to bite, and something to do, to make a sanctuary, no matter how small. And for this reason, I am happy to say, the Baudelaire's were very fortunate indeed.”
And there are still other stories. There are stories of those of people we know, who have made a difference in our lives. And there are people in our community, who have made a difference in our country, known as veterans. They are the sort, who serve or have served our country, willing to give up their own interests for a common good, helping to maintain the checks on wielders of power, with vigilance and moral stamina. They are the strong defenders of liberty, reminding us of what it looks like … to be a hero.
And on this Veteran's Day, we honor your commitment and your willingness to give up your own interests for our good. And we humbly offer to you, our thanks and our gratitude.
For the Support of Your Life
For the Many Sides of Life
Paulette Jackson lpc-mhsp
references: Replublicanism in the Unites States. Wikipedia. Putting Choice Before Democracy by Emily Hauptmann. Thomas Howard: The Night Is Far Spent. 1.Declaration of Independence photo: 1.HistoryATSUDeclarationofIndependenceSFHD1104Y1622.
2. Pilgrim photo: slate.com. 3. Series of Unfortunate Events slashfilm. 4. Declaration of Independence:The worker's circle.
5. Esther photo: Biblestudy.com