Tag Archives: Freedom

Politics and Civility

eyeseeyouOkay, I get it, a bunch of Americans don’t like Obama.  You have made your point clear.  A bunch of Americans didn’t like Bush either.  In both cases, the muck-throwing has been prodigious!  Shame on us!  How fortunate we are to be citizens of a country where they don’t lock you up or knock you off for criticizing the president/prime minister/king or dictator.  If we lived in one of these nations, a bunch of people would now be behind bars or deceased.

How privileged we are to be able to vote for the president and congress (the Supreme Court is another matter).  Come the next election, we can vote-out those we disagree with and vote-in those we think better represent our values.  Historically this is a new paradigm bestowed upon the world by the Mother of Parliaments and not every nation is ready or able to live within this concept.  Yes, we are indeed fortunate to live in a nation governed by and for the people.

In a couple of years, we will be able to express our opinions of Mr. Obama and his party by voting in an election.  We can go to the polls and fire those we disagree with.  In the meantime we can make our opinions known in letters to the editor, blogs and in the various forms of social media.

Unfortunately, what I have been reading across the political spectrum is distressing.  Never have I seen such hatred and invective.  So much of it is offensive, disrespectful, divisive and downright ungodly.  Some of it is simply false.  And, to make matters worse, too much of it comes from people who call themselves Christians.

It is possible to disagree without spewing hatred.  The lengths to which some go to express their hatred is astonishing…especially from those who should be known for speaking the truth in love…whether that truth is related to the gospel or any other subject.

How would you like to live under a Roman emperor or a cruel king or governor?  Well, as a matter of history, Christ and his followers lived in such a time.  And yet, we fail to see them respond with anything but Godliness.  About the strongest language I can recall is when Jesus called Herod a “fox” (Luke 13:32)  I challenge you who claim to be Christians to re-read some pertinent passages.

John 19:10-

  • ·         Pilate’s authority (when he reminded Jesus that he had authority to crucify him) was given to him by God.

Romans 13:1-7

  • ·         All authority is from God and we are to be subject to them.  We are not to resist their authority…to do so is to oppose the ordinance of God.
  • ·         Authority is a minister of God to you for good.
  • ·         It is necessary to be in subjection for conscience’ sake.
  • ·         We are to render tax, custom, respect and honor to whom it is due.

1 Timothy 2:1-4

  • ·         We are to pray for kings and all who are in authority.
  • ·         We are to pray for them that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
  • ·         This is good and acceptable in the sight of God.

1 Peter 2:13,14

·         “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

1 Peter 2:17

·         “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

We live in a wonderful time when we can voice our opposition and act upon it in word and deed when we go to the polls.  But we must do it with honor and respect, praying for those in authority whether we agree or disagree with their policies.  It is high time we begin acting like the one we follow.

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Filed under Blogs & Blogging, Christlikeness, Comments, Current Events, Discussion, Freedom, Hatred, History, honor, Invective, Jesus Christ, Peace, Persuasion, Politics, Respect, Ridicule

HISTORY? WHY BOTHER?

eyeseeyouWhy do we bother to teach history if we are determined to ignore it?  Maybe you slept through your history classes (it has a lot to do with the attitude and style of the coach who taught you) or studied just enough to pass.  So, as a public service, here are some facts you may have forgotten.

  1. No outside power has been able to gain and retain power in Afghanistan.  That’s right, none.
  2. Remember the Crusades?  Every time foreign (Western) armies enter the Middle East, for good or ill, the inhabitants are reminded of those ancient incursions.  And, since they never forget, the vast majority will hate your guts.
  3. In the process of conquering the known world, the Romans spread their armies too thin.  Consequently, they were unable to defend themselves when attacked.
  • Why have we not learned the lessons from those who previously tried to occupy and control Afghanistan?
  • Why can’t we see that we cannot win the hearts and minds of the Middle East through military might?
  • Why do we continue to act like the world’s policemen and sacrifice the lives of our young women and men and maintain garrisons around the world?  Can we defend our own nation when the time comes?

The answer, my friend, is not blowin’ in the wind.  It is there, in black and white, in the history books.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Current Events, Freedom, History, Ignorance, Incompetence, Islam, Middle East, Peace, Politics

Walk Like an Egyptian

We’ve all been watching the events in Egypt (you have to, that’s about all that’s been on the news) with rapt attention.  The non-stop rally in Cairo’s Tahrir square has us (or, at least the news casters) spellbound.  Would Mubarak step down?  What would happen if he did not?  How would control be reestablished?  What will be the outcome of this semi-peaceful revolution? Will “…free and fair presidential elections,” really eventuate?  So many questions answered only in time. Speculation about the future is largely just that.

But I am impressed with the people, aren’t you? They finally had enough. They demonstrated that in the only way left to them: demonstrations. Too many died…too many were wounded but the demonstrations were mostly non-violent. Their demands were amazingly cohesive.  Primarily, they wanted an end to the thirty-year autocratic rule of a man who clung to power like it was his lifeline.

It all made me thankful to live in a real, live democracy where we, the people, can bring about change by going to the polls. Yes, we demonstrate, but we call them “political rallies.” Whether or not you agree with the “Tea Party,” you have to give them credit for bringing about change in a peaceful manner. There comes a time when the people (last I checked, this is still a government of the people) must say, “Enough!  We demand change!” The major flaw in our system, it seems to me, is when our judicial branch unilaterally decides what is best for us (another topic for another time).

The people of the Middle East have thrown a big rock in the autocratic pools of their nations beginning with Tunisia. The ripples will be felt for years to come. All reasonable people hope the resulting waves will be peaceful. Indications from Yemen and Algeria, however, point to something more violent.

Because of the internet, people around the world who are fed up with dictators and repressive regimes are taking to the streets. Freedom is in the air. Let’s hope that oppressed souls everywhere will have the courage to walk like an Egyptian.

My Blogs:
Whitticisms:
dwhitsett.wordpress.com
In the Charamon Garden: charamongarden.wordpress.com
Whitsett Carving: whitcarv.wordpress.com
Mission South Pacific: missionsouthpacific.wordpress.com

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Filed under Change Agent, Culture Wars, Current Events, Dictatorship, Egypt, Freedom, independence, Middle East, morality, Peace, Politics, Revolution

The Paradox of Afghan-American History

I relish the study of history.  The stories of nations, tribes and peoples of ages past have much to teach us.  These days, however, I often wonder why we study and teach history at all.  If we refuse to learn from it, then why not ignore it altogether?  This is especially true when it comes to the war with the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The United States of America is a relatively young country…only a couple centuries old.  But enough history has occurred to teach some truths about the American people.  Admiral Yamamoto may not have spoken some variation of the famous line in the motion picture, Tora! Tora! Tora!, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve,” but it states a historical truth: you can attack the U.S., but then you’d better find some place to hide.

It is difficult to understand what Al Qaeda sought to accomplish by bringing down the World Trade Towers.  But, as the Japanese found out subsequent to Pearl Harbor, American reprisal is dogged, determined and swift.  As they did in 1941, Americans rallied ‘round the flag, mourned their dead, praised their heroic police and firefighters then turned to find and destroy the enemy.  Bin Laden is smart to cower in mountain caves and never show himself again.  He will have to continue to hide until he dies or is caught, tried and executed.  History teaches that truth, justice and the American way yet survive to fuel a terrible resolve.

Afghanistan has a much longer history which teaches that the Afghan people will never be subjugated for long by any outside power.  Check with Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the Persians, Russians and the British.  I recently talked with a young, former sergeant who served several tours in Afghanistan.  I asked him, “What should America do about the war in Afghanistan?”  His answer was quick and direct, “We should get out as fast as we can.”

The truth about both Iraq and Afghanistan is historically based.  More than dictators or any other form of oppression, the thing they hate the most is a foreign army, especially if that army is made up of “infidels.”  Recent polls have shown that, for the most part, the Afghan people hate the coalition presence.  Once they leave, history teaches that all the changes the troops have fought and died for will most likely be reversed and the Afghans will revert to their former state of affairs.  This writer firmly believes that too much blood has been shed already for nothing.  History screams its agreement.

Here’s another related historical truth: nation building is risky and often a fool’s errand.  It worked in Germany and Japan because the Allies initially took over completely.  Somalia and Haiti are pure failures.  We never even got started in Viet Nam.  Freedom and democracy are not our gifts to give.  A nation must pay for it with its own blood sweat and tears.  Only then will they value and cherish it.  Can we give this gift to Iraq, Afghanistan?  Not unless they want it enough to struggle and suffer for it.  History is a great teacher, but only if the students pay attention.

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