On Being Decent In Indecent Times

Outside this morn, 6am, and I can hear the Cardinal welcoming the dawn, as I sit here, java in hand, watching/reading/absorbing the news. Every day another he did this, he did that, this guy was appointed here, this is why that is so bad, this is his latest lie, this is his latest unethical, dispassionate, childish, cruel thing he said, did, every single day, one after another and what comes of it? Nada, zilch, just another day in crazyville, nothing to see here.

Do I want to know? Sure, why not. Does it change anything? Nope.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

 Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)

Can definitely say that last is maybe the best advice of late, in knowing the difference.

Reinhold was, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, an American Protestant theologian who had extensive influence on political thought and whose criticism of the prevailing theological liberalism of the 1920s significantly affected the intellectual climate within American Protestantism. Yet that doesn’t really tell you much about him, as he was also a pacifist, a socialist, against the conversion of Jews, and while justifying American anti-Communist policies, gave much attention to criticism of American messianism and the American tendency to engage in self-righteous crusades.

Perhaps that is no doubt why that prayer resonates for me today so much, as it comes from similar roots, similar times. He lived through the years from before the first world war and saw the effects of industrialization on the average American, through the in between years of growing antisemitism that spread across the industrialized world and the spread of fascism, till decades after the last world war, of watching as the country devolved in the quagmire of Vietnam.

America has been here before, yet, reading all the divisive posts, the he did this, she said that, can’t help but think America is being duped, and someone definitely has their number, knows their weakness, knows how to divide.

I certainly don’t mean to invalidate someones triggers, their stories, their truths, but I guess I just hope the right candidates can figure out how they can rise above it, and listen to the voices of Americans themselves, in the places they live, where they work and where they play.

We all need to be mindful, of the Trojan horses meant to trick us into a false narrative that plays with our deepest fears and our long held prejudices, to be suspicious of the shady intellectuals with their clever mumbo-jumbo, and all this PC on crack attacks.

These are the days of divide and conquer, of information coming at us like the speed of light, and many just not equipped to know how to discern the rotten apple from a ripe fool, can’t see the forest for the trees, the truth from the lie, when even the best of us mistakes a joke for the truth.

American politics has been down and dirty for decades, yet now things move so fast from one tidbit of tawdry to the next, in these hyper sensitive times we live, where everyone skin’s thin, and where the heck went decency, character and ideas? In the U.S. it’s always a popularity contest, and we see how that worked out.

Maybe I’m too critical, but this next year and a half is going to suck the living spirit of all who pay too much attention to all that smoke and mirror, mumbo-jumbo, tawdry this, and she said that BS. Seriously.

Remember to get outside, tune out, take a walk, go to where people are and absorb the energy of community, meditate, learn what you can change, learn what you can not, and how on earth to figure out the difference.

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