Friday, July 22, 2005
Democracy Is Action
Bertrand Russell wrote Why I am Not a Christian, the absolute in Christian apologetics. In this vein, I attempt to explain: Why I am Not a Patriot.

The world is a troubled place. I hesitate to say it is more troubled now than before; although humanity always assumes the present is worse off than the past, and the future will follow suit, I know that history, thoroughly examined, shows otherwise. Why, whole civilizations have crumbled thanks to small pox. Rome fell; the entire Empire collapsed. Avalanches, tornadoes, volcanoes, Mount Vesuvius…the like…

And what was often experienced as a tragedy was actually a gift, in many cases. Alexander the Great demolished many great buildings, but left in his wake libraries of Eastern and Western philosophy, only for those to be burnt down by well-meaning Christians. And then, the Christians brought back great epic stories of the Crusades, and the Arthurian legend was crafted, and Camelot was created in the imagination of an entire people. So this is how horror turns to culture.

Now that I consider these things, I see that much of Western culture is born out of war, bloodshed, horror. Religion takes its cues from culture and history, and so there is this linear transformation occurring. Jesus becomes less of a pacifist and more of some kind of Godhead soldier. (Christian soldiers, marching unto war). If we remember some of history, even just the major points…the Magna Carta, the World Wars, the fall of Rome, the Great Schism, the Reformation, the Renaissance…we see: all nations are born of suffering. It is suffering that leads to greatness.

In this manner, America was made. The sufferings of a few English led to religious persecution, and so escape ensued. More death came on a frigid new land. Survivors adapted and those unable to cope died. The soil of New England was tilled with bitter hope and anger and God, unmistakably an angry God. Then, wise men gathered, and whatever their personal problems were, they collectively looked at the Law of Human Nature and crafted a quilt of ideas. Give me your philosophers! Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Mills, Descartes! For with the help of thought, a New Land was made fertile. Jefferson and Hamilton may have had conflicting ideas about how to run a new government, and the Constitution did go through many changes before coming forth as is, but the importance of these thoughts, these scholars, is far more important than the bickering back and forth. No! I say, even more importantly, it is these arguments that further heighten the importance of United States of America, a land that was able to see, for whatever purpose, two answers may be better than one.

What were we given, in return? Freedom from the English monarch; yes. Freedom from religious persecution. In following decades, we promised each other through blood that no American would stand apart from one another, despite differences. Slowly, our slaves were freed from physical chains. Women voted. Local governments created safe havens for communities. Do I dare say: the spirit of the Constitution breathed throughout this land, and heard the needs of its people, and evolved? For every crisis, an answer came with democracy. We were not free, really. But our freedom had less restraint. And the Law of Human Nature has stood firm the test of time, and proven to us that actions, countrymen, ACTIONS of the people are the actions that shall judge us, actions shall set us free. Remember Aristotle: judge a man not on his words or thoughts, but by his actions. And find the answer why…what is the motivation of these actions. WHAT WILL MAN DO NEXT?

Democracy is action.

Let us apply this Aristotelian method to the present leadership found in the White House, the Senate, and many local governments. Americans have been asked to give up freedoms in times of war. But I tell you, to give up these freedoms to our government is exactly the opposite of what the Constitution promises us. To circumvent freedom is to give up on the notion of Human Goodness, a law this land was built on. Remember the human rights: a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? No one wrote that these rights were to be suspended indefinitely should America be challenged. Indeed, to keep these rights in place is the epoch of squaring off to our enemies. “No!” Americans should shout, “We will NOT desert our fine institution of freedom!” For in suspending rights, we have caved to the enemy. “Yes,” we are whispering, “we are afraid, and will bow our heads in submission.” Is that what Jefferson did? Is that what Lincoln did? Is that what Socrates did? Indeed not. But our actions are belying the motivation behind them. Americans are afraid of themselves and one another. So, we give up our pursuits of happiness, our lives, and our liberties. We hand them over to the Government.

And then there are the actions of President. Listen to his words, his speeches about freedom, patriotism, and truth. Then, stop listening to him. Put Bush on mute. There are only his actions to judge him. I cannot begin the catalog of actions he has taken. To highlight some: invading Iraq with the pretense to oust Saddam as a harborer of terrorists. None were found. The next action Bush took was to look for ‘weapons of mass destruction’. None were found. What were his actions? To leave? To say to the world, “Okay, I guess none of that was so, I’m going back home to sort out problems there?” No. His actions were to remain in Iraq. He sent over a friend to run the country. He sent many troops over to ‘quell’ the society of ravaged Iraqis. They are still there.

I do not know if Bush is still in Iraq for power, glory, or oil. But I do know this: he is unwilling to admit his mistakes. His actions show America that he is a yellow coward, afraid of his own shadow. Only bullies continue to justify cruel actions after they have been made aware of the cruelties. And, as C.S. Lewis said, if Bush did not know better, he would not make excuses for his behavior. But he does know better, and that is why he is the worst kind of person. He is the coward who will make no amends for his sins. His atonement will never take place.

Ask me if I am a Patriot. I will tell you, no, I am no such thing. I do not believe a government whose actions do not match its promises. I will not forgo my rights for a wayward country. And should good arise out of the evils of these times, I only hope it is the actions of good people that reverberate throughout this land. May God have mercy on us, and save us from ourselves.
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

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