Saturday, June 13, 2009

The State of Dis-Union

Warm Greetings My Fellow Countrymen,Let me make this MY state of the Union address. It is my opinion, that we as a Republic are currently in greater danger than we have ever been since we were "brought upon this continent". No foreign power, army or entity has ever threatened us as we are now threatened. Our enemy is within our Republic. No, it is not the current administration. It is not the Federal Reserve. It is not the judicial system. It is not the media. It is not liberals, conservatives or any other party. Our enemy America, is us. We threaten the existence of our Republic. We threaten our children's freedom and liberty which was won by the blood of our forefathers.

"Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up
easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more
." ~D.H. Lawrence

How you ask? Our soft and privileged living has put us in a place where we perceive everything as disposable and replaceable. In our minds, everything has a price tag, or more appropriately, a UPC code. We are taught from childhood that if one wants something, one should find a way to accumulate the wealth to buy that want. Even our souls. Tithe, give to the Church, send an offering overseas to a hungry child or a foreign mission. Why do we remit these? Is it because we truly are concerned about the financial condition of the Church, the empty stomach of said child, or needs of the mission? Maybe sometimes, but more likely it is because it makes US feel better. It somehow washes away the guilt ridden fact that we are driving to the grocery store in an SUV that cost what it would take to fund any one of the above entities for a good long time (especially the hungry child). But the $5 we pledge somehow placates our need to feel "charitable" or "altruistic". We feel that by sitting in a pew and dropping a pittance in the plate somehow makes us a charitable Christian. Maybe praying for an ill friend or acquaintance, or forwarding an email "prayer wheel" might fill our perceived spiritual requisite. It's the "little dab will do ya" and off to the restaurant so we can hurry up and eat and get home to watch "Family Guy". Couple of cocktails and a prozac and off to never-never land and a good night's rest so we can get right back to solving the world's problems tomorrow. Break something? No problem, buy another. Lose something? No problem, buy another. I think the size of our trash cans paint for me a pretty good picture of our attitudes and lifestyles. Remember when we carried out one metal can to the curb once or twice a week? Now we haul out a plastic sack that size at least once a day and chunk it into a dumpster big enough to hold, well, Pavarotti. We keep nothing anymore.Add to this list of disposability and replaceability, the mentality with which we perceive our great country. Nothing confirmed. Rush to the polling place and place your vote. Put a bumper sticker on aforementioned SUV. Listen to the news and complain about how things are going, or not. With that we are "politically active" or "publicly engaged". Ha. I wonder what the framers would think about that heavy handed approach to our government? "Little dab will do ya". Yeah, I've heard of something called The Constitution, but, hey that is what I voted for those folks for. Let them handle it. Yeah, I know a guy who is always quoting it, but man, these days you've got to be careful because the boss is a staunch demo-republi-crat and if HE finds out that I am voting something besides a straight ticket and compiling a pamphlet that may run contrary his pigeon-holed dogmatism. Why I might lose my job! My benefits, my mortgage, my big screen! The country will take care of itself if people will just vote for MY candidate! I am a Republi/Demo/conervo/liberalcrat. I parrot what Rush, Obama, Bush, PBS, Fox News say. I know that I am politically engaged.

"Fewer and fewer Americans possess objects that have a patina, old furniture,
grandparents pots and pans, the used things, warm with generations of human
touch, essential to a human landscape. Instead, we have our paper phantoms,
transistorized landscapes. A featherweight portable museum."~Susan Sontag

"This will be the land of the free, only so long as it is the home of the
brave"~Elmer Davis
These days, we are either left or right, black or white, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican and divided by vast gulfs of ignorance, apathy and cowardice. Yes cowardice. I feel that the courage and conviction of the average American when it comes to our Republic are abysmal. Bold we might be when defending our cable bill I'm sure. I think we fear everything from rebuke from our peer groups, employers and families, to audit by the IRS when standing up for our political beliefs. Many people these days like to say that the public are sheep, sheople, indoctrinated, brainwashed or you choose the adjective/pejorative. This is why I fear for our country. Many people would prefer to crawl into their brick homes and submit to usurpation than to stand up for what they know is the right thing. Our courage I think, is like our morality. Sold.Let me use my own religious views as an appropriate albeit a non-sequitur analysis. I am a Christian. I am not a member of a denomination. The reason I am not a member of a denomination is due to my personal belief that we as Christians, have so segmented ourselves through denominalization and separatism that it is my (very humble) belief that it is irreparable. We have spent so many "ecclesial calories" if you will trying to defend our own agendas, Bible interpretations and "rightness" if you will, that we have lost sight of our true mission of goodness, kindness, gentleness and love. Had we led by example and deed, instead of insisting by words fraught with criticism, pride and hypocrisy, we would have no problem with our religion. Ghandi once said, (paraphrase)"I like your Christ, it is some of your Christians that I have a problem with".The "side" I pick is United States Citizen. I may have conservative viewpoints, but I will fight to the death for one to hold a liberal one. I would never burn our flag, but I went to war for one to have the right to do so should they choose. I definitely don't agree with it, but I also know that the ones who might be so inclined would never agree with me on many issues, nor should it be my lot to convince them otherwise. The most wonderful thing about this country is it's diversity, and most importantly freedoms. Try to imagine a stadium of 100,000 filled with citizens from across our country chosen at random. Now imagine anyone trying to convince this diverse demographic that their way is the "right" way. Of course that will never happen. The giant task we have before us, is to prepare the mindset of coming generations to become engaged, informed and grateful citizens unable to be swayed by the and spin" you mention, unappreciative and prone to becoming "bonzai"minded like so many now. (I like to use bonzai because of the current seemingly dwarfed and intentionally bent minds of our population) Not engaged and informed conservatives, liberals, Democrats or Republicans. You are right, this is not a middle of the road issue. I don't want to go to the center no more do I want the left to come my way. I want to do be the best American that I can and I believe that the cause most noble is not to pick a side and pound on the other, but to make all aware of our rights and duties as citizens, while simultaneously making them aware of it's precious purchase and fragile existence. When one accepts another's belief when their's is diametrically opposed, and is ready willing and able to work within that context, then there will become many common points that one was originally not able to see and in turn, many that they did not see. And accepting our difference while understanding we are all Americans and focus our intentions making a better Republic, no one whether it be the right, left or middle will argue with one should one lead by a shining example of kindness, charity and gentleness. Don't insist that your way is the only "truth". Lead by good action and show that your way is beneficial for the common good of our Republic. Good work is difficult to argue with successfully. We need everyone to be an advocate of America. Our laziness and disengagement has put us in the position we are currently in and it will be a huge task to remedy.I don't believe there is a quick fix for the position our country is in. We have been irresponsible and apathetic too long and have allowed the government to grow out of control. Resteering this ship can't be done quickly. Convincing those who have no clue about the process will be a monumental task. The dissension in this country now is just what those who would destroy our republic would have. We're not going to get there as conservatives, Libertarians, Democrats, Republicans, socialist or otherwise. The only hope we have for our country in the future is to overcome this divisiveness and division and come together as Americans. The one thing we can all agree on is that we want to keep our country. We all must stand on this common ground.I believe that should we should concentrate on education of the process, without our own viewpoint at this early stage. No one can argue with education, should we educate responsibly and accurately and without imparting our own feelings or beliefs. Our tactical position must be one of common concern about our country and the role of each citizen in it's government. Our plan of action should include a plan to educate the people on the process and the importance of their engagement in it. Education that would be aimed at your average middle schooler to understand the meaning of the Constitution. I believe we should take this posture, then our actions will be difficult to differ with and can be a great example to emulate. Should we take a right sided stance, though difficult as it is not to, we risk the chance at being that example. I don't aspire to whip the left into shape by pounding my ideas into them or attempting to convince. I aspire to bring everyone into the process and once in and understanding how our great country works, extraneous convincing should be moot and our ideas and beliefs will become reality and truth to the other folks.

"To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence.For want of modesty is want
of sense.If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines,Immodest words
admit of no defense,For want of modesty is want of sense."

"For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing
your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you
wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet, at the
same time, express yourself as firmly fixed in your present opinions, modest,
sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed
in the possession of your error. And by such a manner you can seldom hope to
recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose
concurrence you desire."~Benjamin Franklin

Here is our challenge. How can we effectively and immediately take up the mantle of good and engaged citizenship. How can we be an example for our youth? How can we be the kind of American that all will want to be while preserving the principles and beliefs of the framers? What can we do to reach the most ears and to gently and morally educate? What can we do today for our republic tomorrow? What must we do to embolden? What must we do to be that example to emulate?What simple but effective action can I do as a citizen? How can I give back? What issues in my area are in need of attention? How can the hand of my humble leadership take my children and those they know to a different America than the one we see approaching us today? As a citizen of an America that generations of people have fought to preserve, how can I show those who would like to learn to be a better American citizen, to free their minds enough to own them, to choose their battles so as to win them?What can I do to help them?Whether it is in education of the public, feeding of the hungry, housing of the cold or love of the unloved. This is the higher purpose of our nation. When our countrymen realize this, we will heal. Not by political action, not by violent revolution, not by dogmatism and insistence, but by gentleness and kindness. These powers heal. That is why we have advocated so strongly education first. Not strong and divisive action. We hope you understand these things.With that being said, let us remind ourselves where we come from and of the things that would aim to divide us. Let us resist those things as if they were death, as if they were the spoilers of our prosperity, as oftentimes they are. Let us advocate a return to that place of origin and let us hold accountable all actions up to this point so that we may by reproof or by recognition, return to a greater good. Let us respect one another enough to not criminalize dissent but engage the dissenter so as to dissolve all barriers between us. I co-wrote much of this letter with my friend Paul A. Mabelis from Rochester, NY. I am from Abilene, TX. There could be no more opposite cultures in our country than the two from which we come, however we stand as an example that all of us have a common interest. Citizenship, patriotism and love of country.Let us be conscionable in our efforts to restore the republic and retrieve what we have lost; for with this premise shall we have the promise of a renewed Republic proud once again in its independence, shining in its example, worthy of its stature and rich in its citizenship.

Kindest Regards,

Capt. Gene Tomlinson (Texas)

Paul Adrian Mabelis (New York)

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