September 14, 2001 – Three days after terrorists hijacked two commercial airplanes and flew them into the World Trade Center Towers, felling them and killing nearly 3,000 people, the President of the United States made a visit to “Ground Zero.” He took a bullhorn in his hands and, as workers chanted, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” said, “I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the rest of the world will soon know what we’re really made of. In the face of this tragedy, there is an almost unimaginable desire for revenge. However, our founding principles cannot allow it.” Continue reading “What Might Have Been”
I detect a form in the moonlight.
Is it my friend or foe?
It appears, in the obscurity,
to be of the opposing throng.
and thrust my sword deep and hard.
My bloodied brother, eyes clouding, looks up.
His face, illuminated by the neutral luna,
wears confusion and sadness
from the injury I inflicted.
Why do I fight and injure and kill
when my vision is so limited?
How well do I know the soul
of my friend
or my foe?
Is it best to shun the violence
and trust freedom and love?
My vision is obscured.
The judgment must wait.
I will love the “other” and trust freedom.
This op-ed in the New York Times has me worried. I am worried because I know a lot of people who are so convinced that government is the cause of all the problems in their lives, they tread into the ground that the editorialist describes. I am worried because, to a degree, I share some economic views, some social views, and even some political concerns with the “nuts” the editorialist writes about.
I’ve always loved the words to this song, but mostly the verses we don’t seem to sing, or take to heart. They are hopeful verses, filled with introspection and personal responsibility:
|O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.
O beautiful for heroes prov’d
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine.
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
God shed His grace on thee,
And crowns thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.
This song contains in it a recognition that America has, and will always have, flaws. Once we see ourselves as alway right, just because we are America, we will fall victim to that pride that destroys all people. However, if we look to God’s ways to mend our flaws, if we confirm our souls in self control, America will be beautiful again.
Additionally, we must be noble in our successes and divine in our gains. This country was established upon principles of self-government and faith; freedom and hope; equality and merit. Until we return to these eternal principles, all efforts will fail. Let us make America beautiful again, from the inside out.
My favorite singer/songwriter is Bruce Springsteen. His lyrics capture feelings and ideas and tell stories of regular human beings better than anyone I’ve heard (and I’ll argue ’til blue in the face on this point). One of my absolute favorites is the following entitled “Devils and Dust“.