By Joe Ortiz
I just love singing our national anthem. Every time I sang it in school, and especially while attending a sporting event, it brought tears to my patriotic eyes. The only tears I have been shedding lately are for the sad state of affairs we are experiencing in this great country of ours, especially its dividedness. This sadness is more profound and visible as we approach the Presidential election on November 2, 2004.
Most pundits are saying this election could very well turn our country into a different direction; but which direction? Both sides have launched campaigns that stoke the furnace of fear and insecurity, and they both believe they have the only solution. Democrats say George W. Bush will provide more of the same (more wars with more countries), inferring ineptness in its foreign policy. Republicans say John Kerry is a spineless, wishy washy opportunist who will expose our country to terrorism in our own turf. But this message is not about fear and who will keep us more safe by voting for their candidate; the election will basically not altar nor solve the real problem. Whoever gets elected will never be able to solve the main reason behind a divided America, which is a spiritual one.
I abhor labels such as Liberal and Conservative. Those labels paint unqualified perceptions of the individual and deny the opportunity to evaluate their heart’s intent. Conservatives say their adherents are for less government; however, it’s the government leaders (at the national level, especially) who are shelling (no pun intended) out billions of your tax dollars for war-making purposes. Liberals say they are concerned more so about the American citizen, promising a chicken in every pot. Their philosophies are both weak to the truth! Regardless, the variance in views is polarizing our American family as never before. But more importantly, these respective doctrines fail because they never truly consider the spiritual question. I’m not speaking about the emotional nor the patriotic spirit, but the spirit of human creation itself!
Yes, I still believe country was formed to escape the church dictating the affairs of states as was the case with most of the old Western world. Our nation supposedly was founded so its citizens would have the freedom to practice the religion of their choice and live within the framework of a fair and just government. The idealism behind the Constitution was a mindset that spoke about liberty and justice for all. The bedrock of this ideology emanated from its people’s heart and soul. It speaks about its love and respect for family, hard work, pioneering spirits, and especially for its commitment to the good for all of our fellow human beings. I believe this spirit came from God! Somehow, however, we seem to have lost our way. Yes! We got bombed by terrorist in our own back yard. And, like the judicious country that we are, we need to corral the culprits and bring them to justice, as we always have. Instead, the political and media grinding machines continue to fan the flames of fear, and their political differences have become the giant smokescreens that smothers the eyes of the human spirit.
Something sadder and more horrific than the threat of terrorism is blinding the hearts and minds of the America family, which is the dissipation of the spirit it received over 200 hundred years ago, a spirited people which had been the envy of the world. Nowadays, we are seen by too many other countries as the big bully on the block, trying to enforce our democratic way of life on others. Showcasing by example a strong democratic system to the world is a great idea. However, the example we have set in the last 10 or 15 years, especially (both politically and spiritually), have been of such hubris, gluttony, self indulgence, arrogance, power hungry and political mendaciousness, it’s no wonder so many countries are taking pot shots at us at every opportunity. This is not true leadership!
Unlike the Jihadist’s vitriol (calling us the Great Satan), I don’t believe our country warrants the label. We definitely are the freest country in the world. Maybe we have too much freedom. But, we don’t accept this criticism with any degree of unity. Instead, we cling to our Liberal or Conservative mantras and slug it out with each other. Both sides have valid points, but both miss the mark, and we need to see what united examples we should project to the entire world. The biggest message we are sending today is that the American family is a divided nation! The reason for this is that we depend not on God’s immutable laws, but on our own manmade systemic doctrines. It’s more about the Left or of the Right, not about God’s truth. We don’t agree with the other person’s philosophy; it’s all about one side through its jingoistic rhetoric calling the other side un-American for not accepting a war-making mindset, and the other side claims that man’s intellectual ability is a better problem solving approach, rather than trusting and depending on God’s wisdom. Many will say this is religious rhetoric, but God has said and He has placed it into the conscience of each individual to know the difference between right and wrong, whether they have read or ever studied God’s word.
But this national dividedness is our own fault! And it begins in our respective households! The tenor of the day is what we call reality, that insidious underbelly of human nature that permeates every aspect of today’s society. You can see it best on our television screen with shows about wife swapping, worm-swallowing, ear drum bursting sounds called music and children preying on parental guilt to purchase items they don’t need. Our media are pouring forth images that negate the very tenets embodied in the Ten Commandments, such as “Honor thy mother and thy Father.”
A recent example that drove home the point how media are subtly undermining the family structure is a recent commercial that shows the father of a family who purchased cell phones for his kids so the family could better communicate with each other. Rather than showing excitement about this great idea, the kids’ response toward their father was disrespectful and embarrassing to see, as it showed him as some doltish, inept male that had to be humored for making such a suggestion. Honor thy mother and Father?
Our respective families are the mirror of our society. And unfortunately, we are divided as never before in our history! We lack the self-respect, courtesy, dignity and honor that were once the envy of every nation in the entire world.
We used to be a great people. We were known for our charity to all of humanity. Now we indulge self, not only our stomachs and our eyes, but our hearts, minds and souls with a putridity never before imagined. While we can’t see this, others can! What message are we sending to the rest of the world? Is this the character of tomorrow’s American Family!
This country is my family, and this country needs to heal its spiritual malaise. This country is Anglo, Mexican, black, Asian, Native American and a myriad of other nationalities, a people who were either born or arrived here to fulfill the American Dream. Its people and its leaders need to look inwardly and recapture the spirit that blazed a path of glory for over 200 years, one that was based not on man conceived philosophies (Left or Right), but on the fundamental principles embodied in God’s word.
Yes, it’s probably true the election on November 2 will be the most important in our American family’s history. However, whichever candidate gets elected to the Presidency, we will need to get over it soon whether your man gets elected or not. While God is the ultimate anointer of who He wants to lead our family, it is still our responsibility to pray for him to lead this country back on a united path of righteousness; not just for its citizens, but for the entire world.
Joe Ortiz lives in Palm Desert and is the author of “The End Times Passover”. Web site http://groups.msn.com/TheEnd TimesPassoversite