Posted by: sailingspirit | May 25, 2012

Crooked Wigs and Slouching Tights: A 1-Year Follow Up

A year ago I was wrestling with discrimination based on nationality, and spent a lot of time considering what made a nation worth my allegiance.  Admitting that we (America) are far from perfect, I decided that as long as we hung onto a few elemental principles, I was still “in.”  (See last year’s post: “I’m with Men in Bad Wigs and Tights”)

So, a year later…thoughts?

No wonder all our founding fathers looked so cranky.  Like these guys, I am not amused.

Thomas Jefferson portrait on two dollar bill

William Floyd

William Livingston, 1st Governor of New Jersey...

So much has changed. 

Not that it was necessarily very sudden, but even so it’s still very,very disappointing.  It seems that all three of the elements I hung my loyalty on have also fallen away.  Well, I should be clear and fair: in the power positions, they have all fallen away.  From the local corner cop to the people at the top (who may or may not actually hold an elected position), they have stopped acting with common decency when under some pressure, have managed to alienate the previously “unalienable right” to liberty and life (on any soil anywhere), and they have turned away or violently thrown out the tempest-tossed and weary so like ourselves.  How is that not treason?  How is that not denial and hypocrisy?  I honestly have to wonder, if not this, what on earth constitutes reason for sweeping impeachment?  They’re not just overthrowing our Constitution, and nation, and peace in the streets, they’re overthrowing sense in any form!

At the beginning of this year, I had a wonderful series of conversations with a man who is not originally from this country but has lived here for many years.  I was expressing my frustration to him, about how our country is capable of so much better and that I wish I could better tell the world most of it does not reflect me.  “Even so,” he replied, “it’s still better than anywhere else.”  I did not find that very comforting, even if he meant it to be so.  If there’s nowhere better to go from here, then what?

I recently watched as dozens of service men and women threw their service medals back at the federal government, as represented by a gathering in Chicago.  As each gave their own reasons for doing so, it sounded as if they did not know exactly where better to go, either; they just knew it wasn’t in the armed forces.  This came shortly after I had realized that the dear friend I had been praying for during his service was headed down the same path.  Those dozens did not change their minds over nothing; though it is tough to swallow, something awful might also have to happen for him to see differently.  The ugly, pussing wound of the lies will have to shock him, too (those he is unwilling as yet to admit he is subjected to, as well as those he tells himself).  Ugh.   But, I have faith it will come out right afterward; our true allegiances are bound not in our intellectual assent but in the passion of the heart.  I believe what is at the core is strong in spite of the surface rust and corrosion.

To be true to my word (which I think still matters) the abandonment of the three fundamental principles I treasured necessitates a re-assessment of my loyalty.  I think I have already posted about my decision to give my allegiance to another Kingdom (forgive me, at this moment I cannot remember which post it may have been), a Kingdom which to my relief not only still upholds those three but all the others as well.  It’s not that I’m abandoning my country–it abandoned me!  I am still willing to pray for it and “pull” for its recovery, but I am fully prepared to release it with a tisk if that’s the way it goes.  Like Titanic, it’s not anything I want to do but once he is dead, there really is no point in keeping the promise to hold on anymore.  Jumping off a sinking ship is not mutiny.  I do not fear because I do not feel as if I am nation-less; quite the opposite, I feel as if I am now in a family so much larger and more powerful than this fenced-in section of land with all its noise and pitchforking.  I am a part of a family that is global, even beyond, the membership of which are those who have chosen to maintain that doing right is more important than asserting we are right.  A group that still cares, and believes that matters.  Our believing is all that matters because the battle is for control of our minds, anyway.

So in last year’s post I asserted that any nation who wants to claim they’re “all that” needs to show for it, and stop the hypocrisy of loving all our stuff but hating us.  Stop the hypocrisy of complaining about how we attend to the world’s problems without ever getting off the couch and helping out.  I still stand on that.  Give credit where it is due, and don’t bit the hand that feeds you (which in some cases is literal).  But this year, in my follow-up post, I direct that as much to the U.S.A. as anyone else, and say that each nation has an opportunity to win my loyalty by being worth my loyalty.  It seems our nation’s powerheads have forgotten that little tidbit.  We did not previously support wars simply because we support War; we participated in spite of it being war because we believed strongly enough in doing the right thing that it was worth the ultimate sacrifice for.  My sincerest hope is that enough people in this nation and around the world will continue to be that committed to what’s right that they will go to even the lengths we would really rather avoid if that’s what it will take.

And from everything I’ve learned in the last year, it WILL take the extremes, but the extremes are not waging war with tanks and bombs and drones.  People will have to do what they have avoided doing: humbling themselves before the Lord God All-Mighty, admitting they were in the wrong for trying to wrench dominion over one another instead of creation, and acknowledging that His government is the only one capable of being truly just and fair at all times and in all things, throughout all ages.  It’s not such a tough concept to accept, but the institutions and traditions we’ve clung so tightly to are challenging to let go of.

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