Be careful with your thoughts because they turn into words
Be careful with your words because they turn into actions
Be careful with your actions because they turn into habits
Be careful with your habits because they become your character
Be careful with your character because it defines you
Ezra Taft Benson (former Secretary of Agriculture) quoted by Buck O’Neil
On Wednesday night I took a walk about our Nation’s Capitol. It was a beautiful night and the buildings and monuments were illuminated in the most spectacular ways. It was inspiring in a sense to see them, symbols of the greatness of the country and the people how sacrificed themselves to build it. I can understand why so many millions of people have come to this country from all over the world to become Americans and be part of our dream.
In fact I became so engrossed I taking pictures that night that in the darkness I did not see an unilluminated ledge not far from theWashingtonMonument. I fell from it onto the waiting sidewalk below and crunched my right leg pretty bad. I had it checked out and x-rayed at the Naval Health Clinic at Joint Base Little Creek when I returned to Virginia. The doctor assumes that there is a good chance that I have a hairline fracture of either my tibia or fibula just below the knee and I am being referred for further tests when I return to Camp LeJeune Monday. Until then I am on crutches and pain meds.
I fell over the ledge that I had no idea was where it was. It was inadvertent and even when I got up and looked at it I had a hard time making it out. However there are those in the country including many in the political leadership and media that seem to want us to go over a cliff because they perceive that it helps them and their agenda. They see the ledge and they know the danger but they unfortunately enabled by “we” press on to the abyss.
For many years the political ideologues on the extremes of the Left and the Right in the United States have harbored the worst thoughts about those that do not match up with their ideologies. I have been writing for quite some time about how divided our body politic is and how dangerous the situation has become.
The contemptuous thoughts of the Left for the Right and Right for the Left first turned to words and those words became commonplace, so common that they became habitual. In a sense they have become part of the political DNA of the most extreme among us.
The attitudes that we have formed and angry words which we now use so ubiquitously are reflective of a deep hatred that now is becoming what defines us as a people. In fact the deep and abiding hatred which now permeates our society is now threatening the international standing and I would say the national security of the United States. We have only ourselves to blame because through our actions and inactions of the past decade we have made our choice to be what we have become and there is no one group especially in our political, media and business elites that have served us well. In fact we have as voters chosen this toxic mix of elected officials often more influenced by hate spewing pundits and our own self interests rather than that of the nation and future generations much as we would like to claim that we are looking out for the future.
We have chosen badly and we are paying for it. We are being held hostage by those that we elected, men and women who supposedly know better than to destroy the country in order to save it as was about the village of Bien Tre in the Vietnam War… “we had to destroy the village in order to save it.” The Left and right have racked up massive debt over the past decade which has made previous debt pale in significance. Each like to blame one another as “mostly to blame” but each has a major part of the responsibility for the mess that we are in. However the amazing thing is that neither side nor we the electorate seems to be able to hold ourselves responsible.
Without going into the whole debt ceiling debacle which now has us on the edge of a default which we can only pray will not be as bad as real economists around the world say it will be; the fact is that we have made the mess and now our leaders are failing us. I have to say that all of them have used this made up crisis to some extent to further their goals and agendas at the expense of the country. That is a shame and our elected leaders of all parties and factions are at fault and it comes back to character, theirs and ours.
You see it is about more than the budget or the debt ceiling. It is about hatred of fellow Americans which has been preached by hypocritical ideologues for decades on the radio, television and now the internet. Much of it is as raw, hateful and disingenuous propaganda disguised as “news” as was Julius Streicher’s Nazi Der Sturmer and the Communist Party Die Rote Fahne were in Weimar Germany. That poison has infected us and most of us line up on one side of the propaganda machine or the other. We know what happened to the Weimar Republic, racked by bills it could not pay, massive unemployment brought on by the Great Depression and a desperate population led by politicians that intentionally used their misery to derail the efforts of government after government to try to manage the crisis. They ended up with Hitler, the head of a large and vocal political movement which refused to compromise with anyone to bring down the Republic that they hated.
Whatever happens in regard to the debt ceiling and future budget negotiations the damage has been done. The soul of our nation and our national character has been damaged perhaps irreparably. Our leaders hate each other and the most influential media in the country, the talk radio and cable news pundits of all stripes throw gasoline on the fire every day. The social and political anarchy will reign until one side or the other has crushed their opposition. Those in the middle lose either way as they will be crushed by whichever side wins unless they ally themselves with the winning side no matter who it is.
History teaches us that such times are at best tumultuous and at worst cataclysmic. The consequences when great nations engage in such political fratricide it usually has grave consequences that effect it as well as nations and peoples far beyond its borders.
It is time for everyone to take a step back from the abyss before we plunge headlong into something that we will regret which will only benefit those that seek to benefit from it. Or are we too stupid to see what is happening?
Thoughts, words, habits, character….be careful.
God help us all