"For now we see as if through a flawed pane of glass..." (I Corinthians 13:12)

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Naming the Demon


I just read a post on Facebook, supposedly (and I have no reason to doubt it) written by a young Latino woman whose mother was a legal immigrant, but her father was not. She made it clear that her father wasn’t a burden on society, but rather was a hard worker and contributor. Well and good. It’s a point we can and should applaud.
Then she launched into another strain that I think may cut to the core of the undeniable divisiveness in America [“A house divided cannot stand.” ~ Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew 12:25; Mark 3:5; Luke 11:17 ~ also, Abraham Lincoln, June 16, 1858, in a speech accepting the Illinois Republican Party's nomination as that state's US senator (a campaign which he lost)]. She wrote:
“I was raised in Oregon, and started learning about politics in my private middle school. I remember that we were encouraged to write about America’s problems and that I was brainwashed to think that America was some unfair country. When I started high school, more and more people started hating America because it was the cool and hip thing to do. Then I thought to myself, “why do I hate America?” And I couldn’t find a reason to hate it.” (italics mine)
The implication is clear, and I have no reason to doubt that she validly perceives some effort to “brainwash” her. I have no doubt that there are schools, churches, clubs, and other social groups that indoctrinate their constituents in virtually any kind of ideology from religious doctrine to socio/economic castes to politics to issues of science vs. creationism ad infinitum.
While her implication is clear, and quite possible accurate, she continues to generalize from her statement that she was brainwashed, and the implication grows into an indictment that all liberals hate America and believe America is bad and unfair.
I’m sorry she had a bad experience while growing up—an experience that skewed her thinking into a divisive us vs. them (us =  good/them = bad) mentality. 
There is a world of difference between hating (or loving) America and demonstrating an integrity of honest self-evaluation. The patriotic hymn, “America the Beautiful” has these words in its second refrain: “God mend thine every flaw.” To deny or ignore our flaws and to make no effort to correct them is, in my opinion, an unpatriotic act of abuse and neglect. On the other hand, the effort to correct our flaws is an expression of patriotic love.
In my limited observation, I see conservatives (Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Party, Alt-Right, et al) finding fault with America every bit as much as I see liberals doing so. The two polarities simply point to different faults, based upon their different ideologies. 
The partisan antagonism that divides America is a self-feeding demon that has become an end in itself. It focuses on symptoms, while ignoring (or denying) causes. And it justifies a growing refusal to consider any possibility that the “other party” may have something of value to offer.
Divisiveness is not the result of our different ideologies. It is the creator and sustainer of them
And we continue to feed the demon.
That’s the way it looks through the Flawed Glass that is my world view.
Together in the Walk,
Jim

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