Monday, April 20, 2015

And Finally, a Goodbye!

I turned away from this blog with no explanation. It is probably because I am incapable of explaining.
by Charlie Leck

First, I must apologize; then I must try to explain my sudden abandonment of my blog.
I do apologize, wholeheartedly, and admit that my sudden and unexplained departure was foolish and I was indeed negligent. I knew full-well that I had many, many friends who regularly looked in on my blogs and quite a few frequent readers who also gave kind and thoughtful consideration to my opinions.

With that sincere apology in place, I would like to explain the reasons why I gave up blogging without appropriately departing.

As the pre-election polling results of the 2014 fall voting began to pour in, I became very despondent and angry. I felt enormous sorrow that so many Americans were beginning to find nourishment in the words and opinions of ultra-conservative Americans who I felt were foolish and often questionably motivated. America’s dash to the right at a time when moderation and courage were so desperately needed unhinged me in a very thorough manner.

I still find it difficult to believe the direction that America seems to be taking. It is a dash away from reasonableness as far as I am concerned. I absolutely believe that greed is playing a large part in the construction of a new America that is quickly lowering the standard of its original, founding values.

For the last six months, I have dramatically increased my reading of and about Thomas Jefferson and his impact on the other founding fathers of the nation. The current attitudes of the country and its growing number of modern-libertarians and Tea Party-like conservatives stands in direct opposition to the libertarianism of Jefferson.

America has become a plutocracy that benefits the few over the many. Though moderates and liberals attempt to stand up to this onslaught of the power of money and finances, it is clear that the bulk of Americans are beginning to believe that the Tea Party and the libertarian movement are on to something.

The true American dream is threatened. And I, with enormous cowardice, abandon my goal of writing two more essays describing this current America. I will simply stand with Bernie Sanders and his current description of the decay of this dream. If you don’t read his regular remarks you are missing important stuff.

With Senator Sanders, I am astonished that the U.S. Supreme Court could uphold and promote the idea that corporations are on the same level as common people and need to be given equal consideration under the law.

I agree with the Senator that the military-industrial complex, about which Dwight D. Eisenhower so strenuously warned us, is now a total reality and is upon us. Unfortunately, it will have to be fed and nourished on more international conflicts and wars – and with more and more money.

Racism is more rampant in American than it has been since the early 1900s. The gains for which we fought so nobly under Dr. Martin Luther King are being slowly, but undeniably, erased. Voting rights, about which and for which Dr. King so courageously fought, are in real and imminent danger.

And I seethe about this deterioration of the American dream. I have lost so much hope. The desperation of the condition of America exhausts me. I am no longer up to the fight and the pain that it causes.

I cannot continue writing about it. I abandon my place on the watch and slink instead into the lush comfort of avoiding all truth.

I limit my writing now to only a paragraph here and there on my feeble Facebook page and in my own personal diary. It is what I have come to. I now only casually observe the continuation of America’s great and frightening period of utter selfishness. The common man has not lost his grasp on power, but he has abandoned all responsibility.

Now, officially, I put to rest this humble blog on which I have made over 2,000 entries. I simply can say no more than I have already said; and when such a time comes one must cease and desist.

To those who have wondered, I am in very good health and I believe that is true both mentally and physically. I read a great deal. I try to exercise regularly. I volunteer here and there for causes I believe are important. I am devoted to my wife. I am happy in my isolation.


FINAL BLOG (no comments will be posted)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thinking Back On Being an American

I’m proud I’m an American! Please understand that. America is a great nation which provides enormous opportunities for people. But, it is all so much more complicated than that and it is foolish not to wrestle with the many complexities.
by Charlie Leck
The wonders of being an American were, sort of, drummed into us as elementary school youngsters. We learned the pledge and how important it was to be reverent about saying it as we saluted THE flag. We were also taught to sing the national anthem with a sense of reverence. And, from the earliest grades in school, it was also hammered into us that America is the greatest nation on earth and its constitution the single most important document in the world’s vast history.
There was no room for debate or dissent about this!
And now, in these latter years and in the quiet, protective surroundings of my home, I allow myself to think about these “indisputable matters” and wonder…
What makes America so great?
In what areas may we have failed?
There is no doubt about this: the Constitution of the United States of America is an extraordinary document – complex (and sometimes mysterious) and wonderful in its promises. However, the goals of the great constitution are, perhaps, more clearly defined in our nation’s original Declaration of Independence from the control of the British Empire… (as here related in Thomas Jefferson’s original draft…
“We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable; among which are the preservation of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The promises that America made to itself are extraordinary and beautiful and nearly reverent. Let there be no doubt about that. They are also immense, full of depth and nearly undeliverable. That’s what I am thinking on this remarkably beautiful morning here in this spectacular setting that I call my home.
I find myself wishing that Tom Jefferson was sitting here with me in this remarkable place, looking with me at the rising of the sun in the eastern sky. I would urge upon him a cup of my remarkable coffee and, after he has had a sip or two and we have chatted about minor matters, I would ask him: “What has gone wrong?”
His head would tilt only slightly to the side and he would squint in that manner, so known to us all, and ask me the inevitable question.
“What in heaven’s name do you mean?”
“This chart,” I would begin as I unfold it for him, and then stutter onward, “what does it mean and how did it happen?”
He would rock forward a bit from my favorite chair in which he now sits; and he would take the document from me. It is actually a survey from the respected Pew Research Center. As he glances at it, I would continue on.
Jefferson is so brilliant. His eyes fly over the information. Nearly one-fourth of the nation’s population has said that it has trouble putting food on their tables. I could compare these figures for him with those of many other nations that have far less problem feeding their people. I’m aware that I don’t need to. It is irrelevant. We are talking about America.
Nevertheless, I want to scream out: “How the fuck can you pursue happiness when you are hungry and can’t feed your family?”
Again, I know I need not; for we are talking about America and the question is so blatantly obvious to him.
Jefferson was able to quickly examine the data. His eyes rise up from the printed document and look into mine. They are brilliant, clear and remarkable eyes.
“It was, of course,” he says slowly and with careful consideration in reference to his sacred and undeniable truths, “only a promise, you know. And by promise I do not mean a certain guaranty, but something achievable and attainable. These goals must be achieved, maintained and guarded with great respect.”
I nod, respectfully, and see a certain firmness of will and wisdom in his eyes. They are locked on me and I realize they are expecting difficult questions.
I point out through the big glass doors to the east and then open by hand and wave it across the remarkable, blue sky that is visible above the tall, tall trees.
“There is so much wealth and comfort,” I stutter out and seek the simple, but wisest words, “and yet there is so much poverty and need. Is the great promise only for the swiftest and strongest among us?”
He does not quickly reply. He shows his respect for my question and appears to ponder it.
“The stability of any great society is dependent upon the health and happiness of its people,” he says very slowly. “Any great nation of people will make it possible for its entire people to pursue that which is their natural, God-given right. And that is, of course, the freedom to pursue life and liberty. It is incumbent upon all the people of the land to make sure that it does not become impossible for certain of its people to continue in that pursuit.”
I am intrigued with how slowly, thoughtfully and clearly he speaks. I sit, transfixed, and continue listening to him.
“A hungry man,” he says, “and, by this, of course, you must know after all this time, I mean woman as well, cannot pursue with full measure any of these desirable and undeniable rights. That income and wealth would not be fairly and justly distributed we never imagined. An even and classless society is not a possible dream and it is not a part of the promise. It is only just, however, that every man be given an equal and fair opportunity to achieve such levels of success.”
We sipped more coffee and nibbled on the fresh strawberries contained in the large bowl I’d put upon my desk; and we talked more about the promises and guarantees of the Constitution and the manner in which it had been interpreted by various Supreme Courts and its justices over the years.
The end of slavery did not surprise him. He knew the institution was not intellectually justifiable. There was an identifiable tone of apology in his voice as we chatted about the subject. He had not seen his own slaves as prisoners and property. He was startled, however, that it had taken such a costly and painful war to settle the issue when the courts could have so simply and constitutionally settled it long before the first shots were fired.
“It has been one of America’s great failings,” he said quite directly, “to respond to issues of difficulty with the call to war. Perhaps it has something to do with manner in which we were born; that is, being withdrawn from the womb in the midst of war and agony. Yet, with all that set aside, it is time for nation and its leaders to grow out of that childish manner of response to every alarm. War must always stand down to the opportunities for honorable peace. Men of great patience will be peacemakers always.”
The sun continued to rise as we rocked in our chairs. It was a brilliant and peaceful morning. Through the screen door, we could hear the songs of the various species of birds.
“Forbearance” was an important word for Jefferson and he used it and its synonyms regularly.
“All men of a great nation,” he said so many times and in so many different ways, “must have the forbearance to work for peace and liberty. It is difficult to secure lasting freedom through war; for war breeds more war; and most treaties of peace are forced upon the unvictorious and not gracious accepted by them. Temperance should be the attitude of those in Congress when they consider acts of war. By that I mean that self-control and longanimity are mandatory in the character of those who lead a great nation.”
To stretch, after a time sitting in our rocking chairs, the lithe and handsome man rose and wandered among the books in my library. He pointed to one of the green bound books from the Harvard selections.
De Officiis was one of my favorite books,” he said. He was referring to the classic written by Cicero in the last year of his life. “It is about the duties of a leader of the government – On Duties – and there is some important wisdom in it.”
On Duties (or On Obligations) is a short work. I had read it once upon a time, but I didn’t remember much of it; but Jefferson’s memory was sharp and accurate.
“No man can be brave who considers pleasure the highest good!” Jefferson recited the line to me first in English and then followed it up with the Latin. Of course, I understood only the former and perhaps did not even understand that fully.
“And he further wrote,” said Jefferson with some dramatic flourish, “We are not born, we do not live for our ourselves alone; our country, our friends, have a share in us.”
He took the volume from the shelf and admired the binding the type set within it.
“Such a proclivity for books the world has now. And how beautifully they are printed and bound; but does the world read them and understand?”
I nodded and remained silent as he shook his head in wonder.
“Cedant arma togae concedat laurea laudi,” he said in Latin. He saw me looking quizzically at him. He appeared disappointed that I did not understand.
“Let arms yield to the toga,” he said in interpretation, “and the laurel defer to praise.”
He looked at me, searching. I did not reveal any understanding.
“To the orator’s tongue,” he said with some lack of patience. “Let arms yield to the orator’s tongue!”
I nodded very slighty, but enough that he could see my assent and agreement.
“America is too quick to war! It must learn to seek out those who will speak willingly and openly about their grievances and how they might be addressed and redressed.”
The brilliant man slipped the book back in its place and returned to where I stood nearly frozen by his manner and brilliance.
“I must go now,” he said as he offered me his hand, “but you must continue to beg America to be a more patient and caring land. Never has anyone taken advantage of a land’s wealth as Americans have here in this bounteous land; but you and your fellows have missed the vastly more important opportunities to lead the world toward peace and prosperity for all. Being a great nation is no longer important. The goal has somewhat been achieved and is no longer relevant. Now the goal before you is the great peace and prosperity of the world. My goodness! You have the means to communicate instantly with fellow humans everywhere on an instantaneous basis. We never dreamed it in our most visionary moments. You can travel to nearly any spot on the globe in a matter of hours and not months and months. With such opportunities, men should become fellow citizens and not distrusted enemies. America’s greatness is only the beginning of the dream and not its end. It can happen; though it will not come about easily and without sacrifice and compromise. Imagine it, however! Think of it! A world of nations and peoples cooperating so that, truly, all men may have the right to freely pursue life, liberty and happiness.”
He turned and left me there.
“What had he said?” I stood there, asking myself. Was it that the American dream, though not completely fulfilled, had to be bigger now?
Had he said that the American dream could not fulfill itself until it was also the dream of every land and every people? Certainly he had said the dream of man’s equality had not yet been fulfilled even in America; yet it was time to move on and install the hope and the dream in every land and in every place.
I had returned to my desk and sat looking out at the wide, blue and totally free sky above. What had been such a vast world to Jefferson was now so intimate and small and I felt as if I could see it all.
This is Part One: On Being an American


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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fred Boos: Hall of Famer

Freddy Boos, a long time friend and a man I admire a great deal, was inducted into the Minnesota Golf Association Hall of Fame on this past Monday. The organization made a great choice. Freddy deserved it for lots of reasons.
by Charlie Leck
Fred Boos is a golfer. I guess he is lots of wonderful things. I know he’s a remarkable father, grandfather and husband. I have plenty of evidence that he is a generous and kind man to people in need. And, more importantly to me, he’s as loyal a friend as a man could have.
But first and foremost – above all else – Freddy is a golfer. He is passionate about the game. He understands the game. And, as well, he admires people who treat the game properly.
Fred Boos has used the game to make money for organizations that serve and help people. Sometime ago, Fred discovered that people really like to play in charity tournaments that support organizations that serve people in need. Fred plays in a bundle of them and he puts on a few of them himself.
On Monday, I got to play in a small golf event that honored Fred himself. It was an event that Grandview Lodge (Nisswa, Minnesota) sponsored, along with the Minnesota Golf Association and the Minnesota Professional Golf Association, on a day when Fred Boos would be inducted into the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame. I was honored last week when Fred called me and said that it would mean a lot to him if I’d come up to Nisswa and play in the event. He also invited me to spend the night before the event in his home. Happily, I accepted and told him I’d be there. However, when I showed up at his home late Sunday afternoon, he looked at me wide eyed and curiously.
“What the…” he said as he opened the door to me. “What are you doing here?”
“Fred,” I said in great confusion, “you invited me to come up and spend the night.”
“I did?”
I told him about his phone call and the invitation to play in the event and to be up here for his induction.
“I guess I must have then,” he said with his mouth still hanging open a bit. “I just plain forgot.”
Things like this happen at our age. I was embarrassed, but I understood. Fred opened the door wide and promised there was plenty of space and that he was happy to have me there. His wife, Mary, had listened to our little conversation at the doorway and she came running to try to put an end to my embarrassment with a big hug for me. Everything worked out. Fred squeezed me into a room normally reserved for a granddaughter and he managed to plug me into the golf event as well. The bed was small, but I knew I’d manage it. I accidentally locked myself in the bathroom when I cleaned up for dinner. I couldn’t get the door open for all my trying. Luckily I had my cell phone and I called Fred’s number and told him of my fix. Shaking his head in disbelief, he found me and got the door opened so I could get out. He gave me a bit of a lecture about how to handle the doors in that bathroom.
We went off to the big Grandview Lodge for a wonderful dinner.
What I cared most about, however, was being on hand for the grand induction. Fred and Mary both promised there was plenty of room for me to be there also.
After the golf event on Monday morning, many of Fred’s good friends and golfing companions joined together to listen to speeches by the Minnesota Professional Golf Association (PGA) and the Minnesota Golf Association (MGA) praising Fred for his unwavering commitment to the game of golf. Fred was the moving force behind renewing resort golf in the Minnesota lake region. Now, because of Fred’s encouragement there are a number of magnificent resort golf courses spread all across lake country. They attract thousands of vacationing visitors each year and have renewed the vigor of tourism in that part of our state. Fred Boos is thought of as the father of “lake country golf.”
I’ve played golf with Fred at least a hundred times and it was always fun – every single time! Fred knows how to have fun at golf and can’t understand why people get frustrated over the game.
“Hit the ball and then go and hit it again,” Fred says with a full laugh. “If you can’t have fun playing golf, something is wrong with you.”
That’s what we did on Monday on the beautiful Pines Golf Course at Grandview Lodge. Fred was the moving force behind the construction of the course. It wasn’t cheap and Fred had to push hard to get the lodge’s board of directors to go along with his idea. It was so successful that the lodge had to create more golfing holes and take over the management of another newly constructed course to meet the demand. Business grew for the lodge. Many other resorts in the area and across northern Minnesota took up Fred’s idea as well. Now, some of the most beautiful resort courses in America will be found across central and northern Minnesota. It has meant more jobs for people in the area and a general boost for the lake region’s economy.
It is for this reason that Fred was inducted into the golf hall of fame. An additional reason is because of his vast, unswerving love and loyalty to the game of golf. No man has ever loved and cherished the game more and no man has ever given more of himself to it.
Congratulations, Fred. I’m so happy I was there for the great honor that golf has given you. They owed it to you, my friend. I’m really proud of you!


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Monday, August 11, 2014

The Republican Disgrace

I read this little tidbit on Facebook in the last couple of days (I guess it’s not really a tidbit but something meatier than that for us to chew on). The American people ought to be examining just how badly the Republican Party (at least all the wildly conservative elements of it) has disgraced itself over the last four or five years.
by Charlie Leck

“Never in the history of the United States has a political party devoted all of its efforts to the destruction of the Presidency at any cost to the American people. We cannot in good conscience reward them with our votes this November.” [Len Miller]




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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Watergate! So Many Years Ago!

We’ve just finished observing the 40 anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation from the Presidency. It brought back so many memories.
by Charlie Leck
Back then I worked for a company called The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA). I called on law firms and introduced them to the various and many services and publications that BNA could provide them in order to keep them up to date about the latest news and court decisions within various fields of law. I really loved my work. I respected the company for which I worked. The lawyers I called on respected my company also and most of them seemed to respect me.
It was difficult to get in to see people during the Watergate hearings, however (1972-1973). Every law firm would have the television on and a host of lawyers would be surrounding the television, watching the intriguing hearings about what caused a handful of Republican cronies to break into the National Democratic Headquarters in the Watergate office complex. Our company sales records showed that the downtrend in sales activity was a national phenomenon.
What a time that was? Members of the Senate panel in charge of the investigation became near rock stars in the nation. The chairman of the investigating committee, Senator Sam Ervin (North Carolina) became an incredible celebrity during the long investigation. I took to him and admired him and loved to hear him speak in that slow, extended drawl. Ervin loved to call himself “just a country lawyer,” but he was sharp as a tack about the U.S. Constitution and he was a remarkable examiner of witnesses during the public and televised investigations. Some of us forget that Senator Ervin also worked on the Senate committee that brought down the scoundrel Senator Joe McCarty in 1954.
Those of us who were around during the Watergate investigation will never forget the hours and hours we spent watching the U.S. Senate investigation panel on television. We witnessed, time and time again, amazing revelations about the seriousness and audacity of the boss in the White House at the time.
The scandal, of course, led to the very first and only resignation of a sitting U.S. President. Richard Nixon stepped down in shame and guilty of the abuse of law. America’s newspapers and the U.S. Senate had taken the nation to the place where they could really see the President’s new set of clothes for what it really was.
It was an incredible time in the history of the United States. Watching it unfold in front of us, we the people of the United States of America were witnesses to truth that was totally unvarnished by political obfuscation because we saw it all live and up-close.
Amazing! Forty years ago!


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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Congress Reaches Extraordinary Low

I’ve been around for quite some time and I’ve never seen a congress as bad as what we’ve seen in the last four years and I didn’t think it could get worse – until this week!
by Charlie Leck
I used to argue vociferously with an old-old friend of mine from Colorado when he would get on his soapbox and begin proposing that U.S. congressional terms be limited to a single term – that House terms should be increased to four years and Senate terms should be kept at six, but that no member of Congress could succeed himself/herself. Now I’m starting to think that this old, feeble-minded, babbling fellow might have had something after all and I send him apologies for all the time I wasted arguing with him.
What changed my mind?
Well, it’s quite simple. No living person has been witness to a Congress of more embarrassing character and/or a less productive one than the ones we’ve witnessed over the last four years. And, I am not going to point to either party here. They both (the parties) reek with an odor that is unbearable even from this distance.
Shame on Congress!
“Shame, shame, shame,” as Gomer might have said. You silly bastards have made absolute fools of yourselves and your constituents are blushing and fuming with anger. If you had any character at all – the lot of you – you would now promise not to run for another term. Get the hell off of this pot because you’ve had long enough to sit there without doing anything!
Once, in a letter to a friend, Mark Twain wrote of Congress…
“…the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts that God makes…
In other places, Twain wrote of Congress…
 “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress…
“…I never can think of Judas Iscariot without losing my temper. To my mind Judas Iscariot was nothing but a low, mean, premature, Congressman.”
The current Congress would, I am betting, leave Mr. Twain speechless (and that is an act of near impossibility).
Let me be more specific!
Congress just bailed out of Washington for a several weeks adjournment in order to get some restful vacation time for its members. The question I ask is: Rest from what? They haven’t done a blamed thing but chatter and chitter and obfusgate and interfere and obstruct for the last 41 months. Does one need rest from that?
We are currently having a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border! Has Congress addressed the issue and come up with a solution? No!
Retiring Congresswoman Michele Bachmann boasted this week that the House had completely raped a proposal to do something about the border problem: “I was a ‘hell no,’ and now I can be for this bill today. We completely gutted the bill [written by the leaders],” she said. Boy! Will we miss the Congresswoman! She is the greatest embarrassment that I have ever witnessed in the U.S. Congress. Shame on the sixth district in Minnesota for electing her!
The Senate Leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, shut down the legislative process in the Senate because it was such a wretched waste of time. Shame on Senator Reid for not leading! Shame on Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky for constantly obstructing Senator Reid rather than working with him for compromises!
The Senate couldn’t even get to the point on taking a vote on a measure that would have disallowed tax deductions for the moving expenses of corporations that are moving out of the nation! Did you read that? Did you clearly understand it? We will allow corporations who are abandoning America to take tax deductions on the expense to do so.
“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” [Mark Twain]
And, good old Uncle Milty, who many of my readers will not know about, had this to say…
“You can lead a man to Congress, but you can’t make him think!” [Milton Berle]
And, President Polk, during his term in office, said…
“There is more selfishness and less principle among members of Congress than I had any conception of before I became President of the United States.” [James K. Polk]
And, I am telling you this is the very worst Congress in the history of the nation for God’s sake!
“If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour.” [Thomas Jefferson]
The NY Times points out that there doesn’t appear to be any hope of action in Congress even on items about which the two parties are in agreement…
“More broadly, Congress has given no indication that other major issues of the day will be confronted this year, even on matters where members of both parties agree urgent action is needed.” [New York Times article by Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker]
All of this while highways and highway bridges are crumbling, the immigration situation is an absolute disaster, western states need emergency funding to fight raging wild fires, there is war in eastern Europe, and Gaza is being destroyed from within and without. And, no one can figure out how to stop entitlements from financially strangling us. On top of this there are a number of environmental issues that must be addressed before it is too late
The greatest crisis America has ever faced!
A dysfunctional congress may be called the greatest crisis that America has ever faced! If it is, history will have no problem pointing the finger at those who caused and fomented the crisis. No problem at all.
I think it is going to take a rework of our constitution (regarding the makeup of Congress and its powers) in order to get this thing straightened out. The United States Congress is hurting America deeply and doing nothing at all to fix the nation’s problems.
God help America!


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Monday, July 28, 2014

Is Religious Freedom Truly Possible?

Japan may be the best example on earth of true religious freedom and harmony.
by Charlie Leck
There is something terribly awful and morosely sad about the way the Middle East is eradicating diversity. I felt a chill when I read this little sentence from a column by Thomas L. Friedman in the NY Times… [read it here]

“Jews and Palestinians, Shiites and Sunnis keep forcing each other into tighter and tighter ghettos.” [Thomas L. Friedman]
There is a large group in our beloved country that would like to see America shake its love affair with diversity and cultural and religious freedom also. It’s that crowd that keeps insisting that America is “a Christian nation.” It is not, of course, and it was never meant to be, but they would like it to be that.
Diverse nations that can live with their extreme diversity are the nations to be envied – they are the kinds of nations in which I could live peacefully. They are the kind of nations I want America to be.
But, can the Islam accept that there might be something beautiful and truthful about Christianity? Can the Christian live harmoniously with the people of Islam? Can the non-Jews of the Middle East ever sit down in peace with the devout Jew?
I have long dreamed of an America where religious freedom is real and not just tagged in our founding documents; that is, an America where Christians are not threatened by changing demographics. I dream of an America that does not get apoplectic about becoming a multi-lingual nation. I dream of an America that does quarrel about an Islamic Mosque being built in Manhattan (very near the former World Trade Center).
The truth is, however, that we are very afraid of losing our cultural exclusivity – we Christians and white people – because we are witness to such horrible developments as we see in Islamic nations. Such ugly and violent fights over sect control.
We often have a hard time admitting it, but that is the heart of the thing. We are frightened. We don’t really mind that another believes and practices a different faith, but we are afraid that other faiths want to eradicate our own freedoms to believe what we have deemed true and real.
The horrific battles all across the Middle East are frightening to us because we see them – true or not – as religious war by those who want to destroy all who do not believe as they. We hear it in America on occasion. We hear it constantly in the Middle East.
On a quick visit to Japan, more than fifteen years ago, I was so impressed with the Oriental ability to accept wide ranging religious views and actually make them a part of the cultural heritage of the nation. They were accepted – these diverse religious views – and they were tolerated and they were allowed to have their individual and singular impact upon the larger society and cultural standards without threat or fear.
I thought to myself back then, as I stood in a Buddhist temple, that this must be the kind of land that our founding fathers dreamed of. All these people of extremely different religious beliefs and people of strictly secular natures are able to live together in such blissful cultural harmony.
Yes, it is what our founders sought for America.

“In the Middle East today, though, the last remnants of poly-cultural nation states and communities are being wiped out. Christians are fleeing the Arab-Muslim world. Islamist jihadists in Syria and Iraq are beheading those who won’t convert to their puritanical Islam.” [Thomas L. Friedman]


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