Right now, I’m kinda sad, more so a little broken hearted. I look at this nation that I love so much, at my fellow Americans, and I’m deeply saddened by what I see. I see people who have been fooled, duped into a lie or browbeaten into submission for something that, on the evidence, leaves people broken bodily and emotionally.
Here’s the problem, and it’s most likely confusing if you haven’t really thought about it: what is our nature? People have been trying to nail down that answer for ever. We often look at choices we’ve made, roads taken, and when confronted by a wall or a chasm, we stubbornly blame the road and not the choice. Perhaps we’ve never really considered what a choice is, or what the cost is versus the wages paid in choosing. We would like to pretend that we are free, that we choose, but when pressed we cry out defensively, “Did I really have a choice?”
Choices, sometimes, seem to be made in some backroom, laden with thick cigar smoke, occupied by an individual who, while swirling brandy in a snifter, plots devices or springs traps in some cosmic game of “gotcha”. We look down at our feet and find them on a path that we say we wouldn’t willingly choose. Or would we? Maybe our choices are made in a backroom, a room without a view of anything but the choice being offered. We make choices without all of the information, or do we actually have it and just ignore it, and we fault anyone but ourselves for the consequences. Sounds familiar, right?
Cigarette packages have warnings, but we hold the manufacturers responsible when a person has cancer–sound logic. A firearm in the hands of a killer is used to take the lives of children and adults, and we hold people who use similar weapons, they legally own, responsible for all past and future crimes perpetrated– sound logic. People misuse and abuse their bodies in all manner of reckless abandon with sex and illicit drugs which leaves them wrecked emotionally and mentally, we blame whatever happens to be handy and willing to take the blame say those stifling religious people called “Evangelical Christians”–more of that sound logic.
Have you ever noticed that when you point the finger of blame, there are three pointed right back? Do it now if you’ve never noticed it before. Curious, isn’t it? Our lives are a wreck, we blame God. Our emotions are off the chart, we blame our parents. Our dreams don’t come true, we blame our spouse. Whatever it is that is not right with our lives, is based on choice. Perhaps it is someone making a choice that affects you negatively, through abuse or neglect, to not acknowledge that is a sin of omission, but your response, that is a choice.
We choose our response to a situation, often in haste and in anger. We act in fear, at times, attaching ourselves to that which has no value which can be measured over time. Impatience, anger, fear, these emotions trick us into choices that have far reaching effects, and shame in making those choices cause us to become hostile to anyone who attempts to approach and give aid or correction. Rather than admit we were wrong, we cling to our choice because that is all to live for, or die in. We fool ourselves into thinking “this is my nature, it is all I am, all I’ll ever be.” The truth is frightening and repulsive to all who refuse to humble themselves. It is foolish, arrogant, presumptive pride and it has blinded so many.
We have fooled ourselves into believing that tolerance is a desirable quality, but not tolerance in any definable sense. The “tolerance” preached today is anything but tolerant. Those who laud that word use it akin to a sledgehammer: accept my life or surrender yours. It is not tolerance, the two way street, where intelligent people agree to disagree or talk civilly and bring well thought out arguments to be considered, it is a one way street that seeks to silence any and all opposition to the world view promoted. It is totalitarianism at its finest, cloaked in a rainbow flag. But symbology, it is a two-edged sword, a danger to all who mishandle it, because those who abuse it, do not know where it lies or what it leads to. They display it ignorantly, and risk their lives with it, making a choice that can only deepen the hostility towards those who know and dare to oppose them.