THE SHADOW THAT HOVERS OVER AMERICA
"The treasure to be sought within political life is trust. Trust allows leaders to be effective. Mistrust disrupts all efforts. Extreme mistrust causes a schism between groups who hold different points of view so that they no longer, together, serve the common good, but become partisans for their own point of view in opposition to the rest."
There is a shadow of darkness increasingly present within American public life. Its effect is cynicism and disillusionment and its means is separation from the deeper truth of the heart and soul that each inhabitant of this country carries. This deeper truth holds a belief in possibility and in a positive future. It believes in the unity of this nation and in the ideals upon which it was founded. The shadow that hovers creates a loss of such belief. In place of hope it institutes cynicism and despair. In place of idealism it invites immersion in what it calls a 'practical reality' which claims to be both strategic and effective but which is, at the same time, detached from ideals and from a sense of moral uprightness.
Cynicism, disillusionment, frustration, and anger are the means that the shadow of darkness employs to create a false sense of empowerment. It is false because it is based on the illusion that the superiority of power or might is the sole arbiter of how to eliminate fear and helplessness from our collective consciousness. And so those who represent this position strive to embody within themselves the qualities of aggression, assertiveness, anger, and power. They strive to communicate through their own personalities and character that they can be effective, can 'take charge,' and can make fear disappear.
Because of the desire to eliminate fear and reduce helplessness, many in this country have increasingly gravitated toward the expression of combativeness, assertiveness, and aggressiveness both in political language and in the personal qualities of political candidates, while at the same time ignoring the abandonment of ideals that may also be present - of civility, of respect, and of the honoring of the sacred office of those entrusted with governing. In this way assertiveness and aggression has become, for many, a substitute for high-mindedness, and contempt and ridicule a substitute for faithfulness to moral and social values.
Such cultivation of external manifestations of power demeans the nature of government both in its language and in its outcomes. And just as there can be a desecration of that which the various world religions consider to be sacred and holy, there can also be a desecration of what the Founders of this country deemed to be sacred in the highest moral sense. The desecration of the ideals of public office is on display now in the current presidential run-up to election, and it is necessary for all who wish for something other than this to hold fast to the understanding that the 'shadow' that has befallen this country is creating an emotional underpinning for the demise of ideals, for the demise of the belief in possibility, and for the demise of the notion that government can be trusted. Without this belief and without this trust America founders into emotional anarchy, feeling that there is nothing holding fast at its center that can be relied upon.
Cynicism and disillusionment - these are the subtle weapons of darkness, weapons that we must meet with faith, hope, and trust in the possible. Those who speak in words of attack, accusation, contempt, derision, or ridicule are not simply "speaking their mind' but are contributing to the loss of confidence in public office that can undermine not only the current presidential election but the future of this country as well.
In the presence of hovering darkness, we are now called to find within ourselves our own soul's faith and hope, beliefs and values that we are never without. We are called to locate and to stand upon our own belief in a possible future that is based in love. And we are called to remember that our ideals are part of the deepest truth that our hearts carry. Only this can create the light that is needed at this time to counter the shadow of darkness that is infiltrating public life, and only this can sustain us as we await and strive to bring about the time when what is ideal can become real, and when what is most longed for can become what we see around us.
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