Note: The following is an email exchange from me to a Southern Baptist preacher, who periodically writes an op-ed piece in my local newspaper. I contacted him after reading his latest essay in the Sunday edition.
November 14, 2007
Has America and its leaders lost our soul?
I hope my series of email responses hasn’t scared you off from further dialogue. I believe this hot exchange of ideas and personal differences is what’s truly missing in our national debate. Rather than seeking solutions to real problems for the welfare of all, most presidential candidates or our elected officials in Washington and at statehouses are trying to score instant and hollow political victories. Personally, I see no real statesmanship with the exception to Obama or any acknowledgement to the social rot and the need for a true sea change in the course of the USS America.
No one is speaking frankly at the risk of outright public rejection of their painful ideas and utter defeat due to one’s principled political convictions. Most candidates are in pursuit of victory, a hollow one at that, believing that money will solve all their problems including out spending their opponents. All the money in the world won’t make up for a lack of integrity and character. We all know this, we see it, but none of us seem to get it.
There seems to be no appetite by the candidates, Congress or the public in learning from our past mistakes and trying to avoid repeating them by growing up. Both, major political parties continue to seek short-term gratification while living in constant chaos, fear over choosing long-term solutions and some peace of mind. Where’s the wisdom by these highly-educated Ivy leaguers and trained lawyers? Without question there’s plenty of intellect in Washington, then why is the quality of our candidates and our elected officials appear to be getting worse? Why is the town so sick and so full of venom?
Is there a genius like Thomas Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, or Lincoln living in the White House or running around Iowa? Isn’t the problem with solely operating on intellect alone, both, as an individual and as a nation, is being disconnected from one’s emotions, from our heart and soul, is that we can rationalize and justify any behavior including a big fat lie that leads us into war?
Have we not witnessed this repeatedly in politics and in religion? Don’t both institutions have a bad history of playing god? Where’s the spirituality in either one? Where’s the restraint of one’s power and influence in manipulating the electoral process or worldly affairs? Would that not be a real act of faith if pastor’s like Pat Robertson, Dobson, and others privately cast their vote and went home?
Was Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence a religious or spiritual statement? Are our inalienable rights given to us by our Creator — God, or by the king, or a priest, or the pope? I have come to see that “Independence” is another interesting term that he used in the document’s title. These rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” were not implied towards a body of people, a society, or a new nation, but spoken of in terms of the individual.
Our nation is in so much trouble isn’t over our individual thoughts and lifestyle choices, but the mass convictions of how we must all believe that everything is either black or white with no room for gray. Jesus’ message was a blasphemy during his time not because it was true, but because it was new. We hate change, we hate new ideas. Jesus was a minority of one and the elite didn’t want to hear it for one second. Tony de Mello believed that if a majority agreed on something you can bet it was probably wrong.
In closing, here is a parable from Tony on the subject titled “true spirituality.”
The master was asked, “What is spirituality?” He said, “Spirituality is that which succeeds in bringing one to inner transformation.” “But if I apply the traditional methods handed down by the masters, is that not spirituality?” “It is not spirituality if it does not perform its function for you. A blanket is no longer a blanket if it does not keep you warm.” “So spirituality does change?” “People change and needs change. So what was spirituality once is spirituality no more. What generally goes under the name of spirituality is merely the record of past methods.”
Don’t cut the person to fit the coat.
Copyright © 2007, 2010. All Rights Reserved. “Has America and Its Leaders lost Our Soul?” by Ted Burnett.
I am available for speaking, consulting and political advising. My other essays can be viewed at my blog – http://www.toxicnation.blogspot.com/. I can be contacted via email at – firstname.lastname@example.org. My biography can be viewed at http://www.tedburnettresume.blogspot.com.