The Beauty of Being Let Down

I didn’t want my blog to be too much about faith, and nothing about politics. It’s not that I wanted to hide God from my readers, but Christian Fiction has a stigma that I’ve wanted to avoid. Plus to Christians, it conceives of a PG standard that not all of my stories conform to.

As for politics, I’ve heard too many stories about people who did not like someone’s politics so they became turned off by the person’s work, which progressed into active anti-marketing. Admittedly, I have a hard time reading H.G. Wells anymore without being annoyed at his utopian, anti-capitalist bleed through. The same with It’s a Wonderful Life. With Roddenberry-era Star Trek, I detect the evangelical atheism.

However, I do enjoy all three of those examples. It’s a Wonderful Life, especially. And I’m sorry, but War of the Worlds has straight up awesome prose at the opening.

Others might not have the same thick skin, but as with faith, I’m finding that to hide what I think because of consequences, is firstly to be a coward and secondly to be a deceiver. Letting opposition believe it is the only point of view held by the thinking.

Don’t worry. That’s not the lead into a political rant. Maybe, it be will someday, but at I’m thinking about a different aspect. Lately, concern for the country has made my political expressions spastic.

I sincerely think that our country’s citizens have forgotten the tenor and value of freedom. To some it is simply a tradition that one might substitute for any other, like the illusion of safety (Patriot Act, TSA, NDAA). More importantly, we have forgotten human nature and what great power always leads to. The more I learn about the history that gave us, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, etc . . . the more I am convinced that we are doomed to create them all over again. They all did the same thing: amassed great power by promising a “better living condition” to their supporters. By the time the complacent general populace realized the character of those amassing the power, they no longer had means to check it. Do you supposeGermanyandAustriaknew who the Nazi’s really were when they gave them power? Did the rest of the world know who they were dealing with when they surrendered theRhineland? ThenAustria? No. Power is amassed by the government you trust, and then handed over to the version you would have never wanted.

Can any liberal imagine giving the NDAA (the bill that lets the government detain, indefinitely, any person American or not) to George W. Bush?

If citizens took the time to study history as it is influenced by human nature, they would see regulations (including taxes) are not resource management issues. Not income equality issues. They are issues of independence. With each new tax or regulation, the private sector has less resources under its control. Whether time or money. Time and money are criteria of independence. As more is taken from the private sector, people have to work harder for less. Do you suppose it is a coincidence that when people think about an election, you hear “I just don’t have time to look at the issues. I’m too busy.”

As the private sector is squeezed, the private citizen says “I’m paying for all this stuff. I might as well take some.” It might be a big thing like generations living off welfare. Or it might be a small thing like, grabbing grant money for a project that you know doesn’t really serve the public interest. Or it might be calling the cops for ever minor dispute in your neighborhood, instead of being a good neighbor and keeping an eye on each other’s property? Kids? Politely asking the neighbor to turn down the stereo after 10PM? More and more, we ask the government to do the things we could do ourselves with a little effort and forethought because we’re paying for it.

One day you wake up, and hurricaneSandykicked the bat crap out of your neighborhood and your first thought is, “What’s the government going to do about it?”

Why didn’t you do something about it?

Why didn’t you have food put away for a rainy day?

A generator with a supply of fuel?

Why weren’t you in a position to help your neighbors?

Because that was the government’s job.

You turned your resources away from fortifying your ability to act autonomously to fund your flat screen, your 4G Iphone Sugar-high, and that house you can’t afford to enjoy.

The more you depend, the less capable you become. Eventually, the government can do anything it wants because everyone needs it, and it needs no one.

These are things forgotten, the reasons I firmly believe there will be great atrocities in my lifetime as the whole world is goes that way, and no nation on Earth exemplifies a different way. It’s bigger than Obama or the Democrats and Republicans. I see us heading down this road, and I’m like, “Why don’t any of you see this? Why doesn’t anyone care?”

That’s just my frustration. What I really wanted to mention was my bout of political fever, posting about third parties and probably-empty-secession movements. I was a Marine—am. However you want to look at it. It’s not my nature to quit. I don’t want to just throw up my hands and throw away Americawithout a fight. But . . . I could feel a desperation and anxiety behind my words and thoughts. I needed to convince people of what’s going wrong.

And that was it. Why did I need this? Recently, I had a discussion with a friend from the Corps. He chalked up the longer healthier lives of the religious to their refusal to take responsibility for their lives. I think he meant it negatively, but I think that’s what it’s supposed to be. Was he saying that people of faith are inherently inactive? Does he think the great people of faith simply sit around praying for their next meal? By way of history. Slavery was fought and defeated by people of faith. Hospitals and universities were raised by people because of their faith. Isaac Newton and many of the pivotal scientists of the past and present were driven by faith. Not taking responsibility for life does not mean not taking action in the present. So what we’re talking about is stress.

Even if you do not trust in a god, a reasonable person has to know they are not in control of the outcome of their life. You think you’re smart? You had no control over your genes, where or when you would be born, or what opportunities would come your way in life. What you did with the opportunities were your choices, but not the spectrum of opportunities. You could have died young with cancer. You could have been born to a child molesting parent. You parents might have been killed, and you ended up being shipped from home to home. You could have had a learning disability and no one cared enough to diagnose it. You could have had a boss who simply didn’t like you and wouldn’t let you advance.

Only choices are within your control, so what sense does it make to stress about circumstances? Even an atheist should understand that a good life is a life not taking responsibility. They even more so because they believe they only have one short life to enjoy. Faith is facing that truth and saying it belongs to someone else, whose character you trust. It should be an easy concept to someone who trained to let someone else be responsible for his back.

Back to politics, sure I should be involved, but the moment my peace can be destroyed by something like an election—if even for a moment—then I have made the political system the coordinates of my faith.

And that is why, it is so very good what happened in this election and many others that we lost. Imagine, if politics made sense? If we made more and more progress into a world that was free-er, more compassionate, and more righteous by means of politics? Or science? Or community traditions? Blood drives? Walk-a-thons? Or whatever?

If it worked that way, we could justifiably put our faith there. But the world was never meant for that. A car running on molasses will never run as well as one running on gasoline. There is a reason we are healthier when we are “not taking responsibility”, it’s because we were not meant to.

What if we could get every law passed that we wanted? We might have a world where every baby is allowed to live, everyone who is able works for a living, people could keep their doors unlocked even in the city, but that does not mean we have changed a single human being’s soul. The Fascists and Communists were both very concerned with “moral conduct”, yet somehow the conditions of their souls did not prevent the terrible terrible evil that each would conjure.

If a refined, progressive, government could create a morally perfect human, then shouldn’t our society have? We are richer, “more” educated, and environmentally conscious. Shouldn’t we have more heroes today? And yet, we have more cynics than heroes. Who have we created to look up to? Professional athletes? Politicians? Engineers?

But who are our heroes? Martin Luther King. Ghandi. Jesus. George Washington. Mother Theresea. What do they all have in common? They were not government constructs. They weren’t even cultural constructs. If anything they defied the norms they were in.

So we live in a world of failures in a history of failings. And God be praised, we do. Every time the Republicans cave (how much you wanna bet taxes go up and the debt ceiling is raised, again? I’ll further bet its right before Christmas. Cynicalme.), it is a reminder that we will not be fixed by politics. Human government will not bring us paradise. And so every failure glorifies God, teaching us to reinvest our hope into a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Whose ruler always keeps his word. Who cares more about the circumstances of our souls than whether we have a phone, a flatscreen, healthcare, and free condoms. Someone who is generous enough to keep sending life to people who frequently reject it.

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