The sun rises this day with a power and majesty fitting for an October recently mixed with grey clouds and recurring cool drizzle. The warmth seeps into the bones and feelings of plants and animals alike. Flowers are still doing their duty in providing beauty and a sense of summer not yet over. Hope springs out everywhere in a dance of possibility and confidence for what might still be. Poets would surely wax enthusiastically about the certainty of a good day coming.
But underneath this fine day there is a feeling of disturbance and of something not quite right on the planet.
Perhaps the election coming in a few short weeks will allow a return to calmness and stability that has been missing for what seems like a very long time. Perhaps the country will wake from this dream like slumber and shed the feeling of sadness and pessimism that has engulfed this fertile land.
But perhaps not, for fear has been planted in the psyche, that is at the same time powerful and devastating to the human spirit?
And the only cure is courage.
Some would certainly argue that one should confront the fear, face it and allow it to drop away.
But that might not be possible when the fear is multiples of all that is wrong in the world.
And where does one start and how does it all end?
Perhaps the better road is to - just show courage, show steadfastness, show an adherence to principles that this country is based on, even when we didn't live them. And perhaps there are clues in our history where courage and principles overwhelmed fear.
One such example was - The Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation - these were about principles that bind us together as a people. And no, the war was not fought over state rights as the history books want to say. It was fought over principles that appear in the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. The Civil War was fought to stand up for the principle - that all men are created equal - in the eyes of God - and would be in the eyes of this society. There is still a great deal of confusion about the Civil War and these principles and consequently the battle for human rights goes on even today, and not just in the south. But the courage showed at this important point in time showed that this country, this society and this people would not falter from the course plotted out by our founding fathers.
Another example was during the Viet Nam war. Many older people believed the myth of "might makes right" and since they lived through the Great Depression and World War II were willing to believe that their leaders were telling the truth. The killing of JFK others was believed to be just an aberration, the story did not hold water but the thought that the government had been involved in the murder was too much for many to be believed. That would have meant something too terrible to behold even though years later the character of our leadership came out during Watergate when Nixon was revealed to be a plotter and a rotter. Viet Nam split families and communities and ended in failure though the price paid by many soldiers is still available for view today in every skid row in the country. But the war protests were about principles. For Viet Nam it was the principle of self determination. For the US it was the principle of not interference in the affairs of another country even though it was opposed to its form of government. And for many of the protestors - it was about the basic tenet - thou shalt not kill. It took courage to oppose Viet Nam and the country was better for it even as it was defeated in war.
Once again this country is faced with war, polarization and a strange absence of principles. It may be that these events occur so that the human character can rise up and display its finest principles in courage and careful display of the human spirit in action. But for whatever reason and for whatever purpose, it's time for principles and time for courage.
May the spirit of our forefathers be with us and inspire us to seize our legacy and be true to our ideals.
Seize the day!
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