Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Its time everyone in this country had a “Come-To-Jesus-Meeting.” This is a “Southern thing” that’s not unknown in other regions of the country. It started in revival tents on hot sultry summer nights and the tradition was transported behind the woodshed when a father felt a boy needed a serious lesson in manners.

A sincere "Come To Jesus Meeting" is that moment when an individual is compelled by the weight of evidence and looming penalty to admit wrong doing, seek forgiveness and agree to avoid wrong doing again. The meeting consists of three parts.

During the first part, the errant admits their guilt and wrongdoing. If there is no admission there is no point in continuing with the proceedings. Second, the errant one has to sincerely repent and commit to stop doing wrong. Last, the errant ones must attempt to make restitution.

To participate in this meeting you don’t have to believe in Jesus. You don’t have to be a Christian. You don’t even have to believe in God or any “higher power.” All you have to believe is that this country has done wrong in the past and is doing wrong in the present. You have to believe that somehow we have lost our way and are now stumbling down the wrong path – a path strewn with injustice, cruelty and greed.

If you believe that, it doesn’t matter if you are Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Left or Right; all that matters is that you believe there has to be a better way than the way we are going. If this is you than let’s get this meeting started.

We, the American people are guilty of a type of patriotism that makes lawless ambition into a virtue. For too long we have always assumed that God was on our side without once asking if we were on the side of God. I know the following piece of advice is trite and non-Christians might find it offensive but I think it is time we ran our country by asking ourselves, “If Jesus were running this country, what would he do?” (Feel free to substitute Buddha, Gandhi, or your favorite compassionate philosopher.)

We, the American people have allowed our political processes to be perverted by the insatiable greed of a few people at the expense of the many, especially those least able to bear the expense and least able to defend themselves. We must admit this and commit ourselves to changing the system. Regressive taxes in all forms must go if we are to stop repression of those who are already down. A social net must be provided including a living wage and national health care.

We, the American people are guilty of idolatry. We worship corporations as if they were gods. Corporations aren’t gods, they aren’t even people. They are soulless business entities setup for a single reason only – to make a profit for their owners. As a business entity, they should have no rights remotely resembling those of people and a clear distinction must be made under the law. This is a country “of the people, by the people, for the people,” not for corporations. It should be illegal for businesses and corporations to contribute to political candidates, issues, or parties. It should be illegal for such contributions to be accepted by candidates, issues, or parties. Can you think of a single reason, for the public good, that a corporation would donate to a politician? Further, to remove any temptation or hint of impropriety, revolving doors between government and corporations must be closed.

We, the American people are guilty of holding our religious beliefs (even when those beliefs are non-beliefs) with such certainty that we count it as a moral deed to jam our beliefs down other people’s throats. I know this is a touchy subject, but consider this for a moment: Most religions teach that the Supreme Being is infinite. If that is true than that Being has many sides, like a multi-faceted jewel so large we can only see one facet at a time. Perhaps one group sees one facet and calls it “God.” Another group sees another facet and calls it “Allah.” Yet another group may know the facet they see as “The Great Mam-Jube.” Whatever – the point is – just maybe it’s all a matter of semantics; where you are standing when you learn to “see” a Supreme Being. Just maybe we’re all talking about the same being. This leads to our next guilt.

We, the American people are guilty of a divisive spirit. We tend to look at all who are not like-minded as enemies rather than fellow human beings that might share common ground. This is not a guilt unique to our nation. Throughout history when conflict between nations was imminent, each government made every effort to dehumanize and demonize the people of the other nation to the populace at large. If your people see their people as “people” with faces, and wives and children, your people are more apt to sit down and talk about the weather with them than they are to maim and/or kill them. A government intent on war just cannot have that, now can they?

That’s a lot of guilt and a lot of wrongdoing. Acceptance of such a burden is not something most people will take on willingly. Before you decide, ask yourself these questions:

Does might make right?
Should the United States impose our form of government
on another country by force?
Is it right that almost 40 million people live
below the poverty level in this country while the richest 5% of our citizens
control 50% of the wealth?
Is it right that a person can work forty hours a
week in this country and be forced to live in a shelter for the homeless because
they can’t afford to eat AND pay rent?
Should corporations have the same
rights as a human being (and to add insult to injury, they get taxed at a lower
Is this country to be run for people or corporations?

We know these things are not “right.” They do not conform to any set of moral values taught in any church in this country. They are counter to the intent of the Constitution. No matter our political beliefs, I think we can agree there is a lot in this country that needs to be fixed. Its time we invited our politicians to a “Come-To-Jesus-Meeting.”

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Samizdat: an underground system for the circulation of forbidden works of literature and political criticism in the Soviet era of Russia.

Location: Arkansas, United States

Angry, angry, angry ... but still, any day above ground is a good day.