2013

3 April 2013: Don’t let fear stop us from improving

Don’t let fear stop us from improving

Future historians and generations will likely look back at 2013, indeed to the years roughly correlated to President Obama’s tenure, as a defining moment and era in American history.  Will it be on a par with the Progressive Period of the early 20th century, dominated by Teddy Roosevelt that witnessed the creation of the Food and Drug Administration, enactment of child labor laws, and other social gains, and that of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal that saw the birth of Social Security?

With the stock market somewhere in the stratosphere, posting gain after gain, the unemployment rate declining, and housing, both prices and construction, rebounding, the sky-is-falling message of erstwhile Republican presidential standard bearer Mitt Romney seems ancient history.  Mr. Chicken Little is doing quite well in his financial Valhalla also known as the Cayman Islands.

Instead are three dominant issues, same-sex marriage, gun control, and the death penalty.  All three carry far more emotional baggage than, say, the deficit or budget, fracking, or climate change simply because of their immediate personal impact.

A seismic shift is occurring with our societal tectonic plates.  We are rapidly evolving into a society not predicated upon fear of the outsider—xenophobia—of the other, and of the unknown but one in which our better angels prevail.

It’s the Spirit of Colorado that is not unlike the Rooseveltian Eras in its forward-looking perspective.

A couple of articles back, I wrote about how what is happening in Colorado with regard to civil unions, and potentially same-sex marriage, and to gun control is another example of our progressive tradition.  My points were not intended as a victory speech as letter writer Mark Kline, a friend, KYGT colleague and honest critic, asserts but as an observation and summation of current forces.

In his column, Robert Houdeshell decries Democrats “cram[ming] down our throats their agenda.”  No such thing is happening, of course.  As Republican Party vice-chair, Robert should understand fully elections have consequences, and of late his party’s message has been resoundingly rejected by both the state and national electorates.

The pillars of the Republican Tea Party’s foundation—an armed-to-the-teeth population, a social agenda based upon fear and exclusion, and a government drowned in a bathtub—do not sit well with the majority.  The 2012 election result affirms that as well as does post-election polling.  So, Robert and Mark, until you and your party get that, you’re destined to be on the losing side politically and more important, historically.

Guns do not make us safer; they only give one an illusion of safety.  Statistics confirm that.

Same-sex marriage cannot hurt, for example, opposite-sex marriage.  Heterosexuals have done a magnificent job of destroying that institution on their own.

More than half of all initial marriages end up in divorce, which is contrary to Jesus’s proclamation in Mark 10:9 that “What God has joined, let no man separate.”

And let’s not forget that James Holmes, accused in the Aurora theater shootings, Adam Lanza of the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre, and Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris of Columbine infamy are all the products of heterosexual parents and upbringings.

The death penalty is a vestige of ancient pre-Christian iron law.  Jesus himself said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matt. 5:38-39)

Besides, it’s extremely costly and permanently harmful to those who are innocent and executed.  As one recent man who had been exonerated testified, “You can release someone from prison, but you cannot release one from the grave.”  If we want to play God, we better be above saying, “Oops.”

Where to from here?  Do we try to build a heaven on earth?  As one who doesn’t believe in a heaven in heaven, that is something I cannot conjure, so to me a non-sequitur.

It is though about rising above our fears and becoming better, something we have done well in the past and continue to do in Colorado.

And if we continue on this path, I’ll do more than give victory speeches…I’ll do a victory dance.  After all, it’s time to celebrate, not whine.

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