Thursday, October 21, 2004
My niece, the election and art
Well, after a weeks forced hiatus, I'm back at it again.
For those of you kind enough to write, please accept my thanks and appreciation for your concern. It really does make a difference.
My niece is doing better, thankfully. She will require further surgeries, but in the great scheme of things, we're focused on her being with us for a long time to come.
I've written and rewritten my 'back to blogging' post a few times. I suppose being away and concerned with matters of a non cyber nature, has forced me, just a bit, to refocus the lens through which I see things.
I'm going to write about the elections, John Kerry and George Bush. There are a few personal observations I'd like to make first, however, because they are in many ways related.
To my friends who will be reading this, remember-- life is short and precious. There is little time for the politics du jour and there is even less time to pretend that reality doesn't exist. Simple denial of the relevance of truth and morality, so as to emphasize an overly influenced agenda of deceit or even self deceit, is not a legacy to be proud of, under any circumstances.
We are each endowed with a blank canvas, to fill in as we choose. Some of us are rather poor artists and others, as a result of fate, are better equipped. Then there are the few, the special few, that are not so restricted by the canvas or palette of colors at hand. They are share similarities. They are quiet and self effacing and are aware of all the realities around them. They see the world and forget not their place in it nor their obligations. They can, with a bit of luck, faith and perseverance, create a better world. I am lucky to know a few such persons. To you, I say, believe in yourself.
These words are relevant to my readers, fellow bloggers and friends because we live in an era where we asked and even told to challenge our very own beliefs and values, as if these were somehow negotiable, simply because others say they are. When we debate others and lose, to some extent, we blame ourselves for not presenting a 'good enough case.' We dont blame or fault others for their beliefs. We do not see an inherent fault in others for differing points of view. We see them as of yet, being 'uninformed.'
Our adversaries on the other hand, see us as defective-- even evil. To espouse certain beliefs in their eyes, is to be somehow, 'less than' or unequal-- and worst of all, unworthy. One late night TV guest, a Hollywood type, made the remark that Republican voters should have their votes nullified, or should not even be allowed to vote. TV land response? Applause, of course.
Very few conservative friends and associates I have, will ever attempt to stifle discourse and civil debate. Conservatives may be known for their stubbornness and hard headed beliefs, but in the end, very few wish to impose their beliefs on anyone.
Liberals openly at times, wish to stifle free speech and the free exchange of thoughts in the marketplace of ideas. All thoughts or ideas one may have must be deemed worthy and pass the liberal litmus test.
It is true that conservatives wish to see a different set of values at the fore in this country. That is very different than beliefs.
Let's examine that.
Conservatives have no real desire to impose a set of beliefs on anyone. A conservative will tell emphasize that you are free to believe and worship as you choose. Even beliefs that are anathema to conservatives are given free reign. Conservatives do not attempt to introduce politically correct prayers, liturgy and belief structures on anyone or any group. Conservatives believe that all groups are equal under the law and all deserve equal protection.
It is true that the ideal has not always worked the way it is supposed to. Many groups were disenfranchised and some were left behind. Sadly, this is the human condition-- we are all less than perfect, at times selfish and even uncaring. Not one of us, conservative or liberal alike, can point a definative accusatory finger at any one else with any moral certitude
Nevertheless we plod along, ever seeking to better ourselves and the world around us. Again, not a perfect record, but one that seems to work. If you question that, look around at other places.
Contrast all this with our more liberal brethren. They truly do wish to impose their beliefs and values upon us. They mean well at times, of that I'm sure, but the results of their often well meaning ideals can have a disastrous effect.
It is not enough for liberals to impose a set of values on us. They wish to impose a set of beliefs, as well. If they don't like a particular church's preachings or belief, the entire church becomes the 'enemy.'
For example, it is of little importance to liberals that the Catholic Church, for example, feeds millions of people a day.
The fact that there aren't female priests is enough to label the Church as worthless and misogynistic. That the Catholic Church has internal problems, is evident. So does every church, religion and faith. Those issues may be serious, and at times, require immediate attention. That does not, however, nullify the value of a church, synagogue or mosque to the community, contrary to what liberals would have you believe. Very few young minds have been poisoned beyond repair because there are no women priests.
If church liturgy isn't politically correct, then the focus of the church must be directed to changing the liturgy and everything else be damned. It is as if politically correct and acceptable beliefs are the true merits of faith, teachings and good works be damned.
To a liberal, the message has become more important than the works. At times, desperately needed foreign aid must be dependent on allowing abortion in the recipient country-- even if that goes against the cultural, societal and religious norms of that country. While that may garner headlines, for example, there are few if any liberal voices heard for the abolition of FGM. Those voices it seems, belong to missionary groups that take in young and at risk girls. While no doubt women's right are a real issue globally, it is ironic that children are neglected, deemed to suffer yet another round of mindless liberal handwringing at the UN and others women's forums.
All this is reminiscent of a Jewish friend of mine, who in response to a plea from a rather eager and narrow, newly minted evangelical preacher, only half jokingly responded as follows: "We appreciate your love for us, but please, please, stop loving us so much. That love has been killing us for centuries."
Liberals have become the evangelizing network for the assault on conservative values.
That's what John Kerry and the liberals are about. They preach their cause with the zeal of of the newly converted and will stop at nothing to see their beliefs imposed on us all. Like the religious zealots before them, much heartache and destruction will follow and has followed in their wake.
It is not conservatives that are the zealots the liberals would have you believe. They assume that by labeling the conservatives in that way, people will not recognize who the real zealots are. Mr Kerry and company are assaulting the very strong beliefs that Americans share about family faith and morals. As Mort Zuckerman, of US News and World report put it, the Democrats have left their base of the 'little guy' and instead, have chosen to Hollywood to serve as the baseline for liberal beliefs.
The reason Mr. Kerry and the Democrats are focusing so much on the war in Iraq as opposed to what liberal ideology stands for, is because they know Americans will never agree with true liberal ideology. Americans are a whole lot smarter than Mr. Kerry and the liberals give them credit for.
It is that very same reason Mr Bush maintains his popularity and support, despite what has to be considered a less than stellar economy and lagging economic indicators. Americans are whole lot smarter than politicians give them credit for.
The wars on terror, in Afghanistan and in Iraq have to be paid for. Americans understand that 9/11 cost the entire nation in ways that yet to be calculated.
How do Mr Kerry and the Democrat Party plan on dealing with these truths? By avoiding them, thats how. Rather than deal with an ideology that has failed, the Democrats plan on contesting the election in whatever way, shape or form possible, both before and after the election.
Like book burnings or the 'auto-de-fe' of the inquisition, the ends justify the means. Like the misguided zealots before them, the Democrats believe that sin, even capital sin-- in reality even attempting to subvert the democratic process is just that-- is justified, so as to recreate the world in their image.
Much critique of Mr Bush is fair. Much isn't. History will determine that balance.
One thing for certain is that even on cursory examination, Mr Bush is far more a 'people's President' than Mr. Kerry could ever hope to be.
Americans, are by nature, a 'live and let live' group. Fairness, equality and decency are who we are. These are traits the came about as the result of lifetimes before us, our predecessors offering us their best.
They cannot be traded to fit an agenda.
Sitting in that hospital, for days, one has time to reflect about much. I am sure many of you have been in that same seat, thinking and reflecting and feeling very small. In those few moments in time, we see what is important and what isn't. Many things become clear and much of the chaff is discarded.
America has proven time and again, that when we take the brush in hand and create on that canvas of our lives and communities, whatever it is we see, something wonderful occurs.
It has been said that American art is unique, in that it reflects the history of America, who we are and where we come from. Our artists have defined pictorally and in words our story-- the good and the bad.
This is an election wherby some want to place that brush into the hands of a chosen few. That is why this election is important.