Monday, May 21, 2012


This is post 1,500. I guess it should be something special – something incredibly important – something rocking – something elegant!
by Charlie Leck

“A nation that will not care for the least of its children is doomed to fold in upon
itself and it will be trampled into the earth.”

Can you believe it? This is blog #1500. It nearly takes my breath away. What shall I say? Who shall I berate? What shall I praise? Of whom can I make fun?

I am disquieted! I wonder why readers have come here – again and again – to read what I have to say. I hope it is because I have been consistent. Even in my rage, I hope I have been consistent.

I am just an old man!
As a couple of my readers have said, in response to my rather scathing comments about Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, “You are nothing but an old man and a fool!”

I know they got it half right –correct! I hope they are not correct on both counts; but that I leave to my readers to determine. There are several dozen of you out there who communicate with me regularly about my blogs. Boy, do I appreciate you. If I could whisper it (so no one else will hear), “I also love you a great, great deal!”

From the so called writer’s block I have never suffered.

And yet, here – now – I am flailing around for the all the best things to say.

I have struggled for hours over this blog #1500. I deleted it twice and each time went to the computer’s trash container and restored it. Some of you are going to think it is a religious, or scriptural, or biblical, or even a Christian blog. It is not. Rather I have used the concepts of Christian and Judeo/Christian scripture to combat the rising, harsh voice of the right-wing, fundamentalist Christian movement in this country that is so critical of government services to the poor and disadvantaged. Try to read the blog as if it were secular and only uses the language of faith and the prophets.

Why am I so often driven back to the ancient prophets of scripture when I am stuck? Their messages about governance, corruption and national conduct often stir me. Am I naïve to think nations have responsibilities for their citizens and obligations to care for those who cannot care for themselves – to ensure that its entire people are secure, safe, sheltered and fed? Or, is it an old fashioned idea that can only, in reality, be associated with socialism or communism – or idle dreamers?

Social Justice
I’ve looked back over hundreds of blogs to see if I can find a common thread or theme; and I see it there. With scattered blogs about baseball or golf thrown in, a good recipe here and there, a few notes about personal travels and a book review or two, I go back again and again to the responsibilities of those who govern.

And, I wonder! How can there be justice when some of us can have multiple homes, yachts, sports cars, personal chefs, valets and unlimited resources, while others live without shelter and with too little nutritious food to eat? How can we spend so much on our own personal comfort and indulgences while the earth suffers from our abuse of it?

For instance, can we, in good conscience, build sports stadia that cost billions of dollars while there is such rampant homelessness? I do not argue that we cannot do the former, but I do persist in urging that we can do both.

How can America have so much accumulated wealth and such staggering poverty at the same time? Reputable reports indicate that twenty percent of our population is poor. A large number are completely destitute.

We slip lower each year in the ranks of those nations providing the highest quality education for our citizens.

Politicians claim we cannot afford to spend more; yet we now have more billionaires than we ever dreamed we would have.

It seems to be true that one (1) percent of the population now controls nearly fifty (50) percent of the nation’s wealth. I do not begrudge them their wealth, but I do persist in arguing that this group has a greater – much greater – responsibility to care for the bottommost percentage of the population that lives in utter poverty. To neglect that lowest part of the general population is to turn one’s eyes from the loving gaze of God. It is to refuse the wisdom of the prophets and what they have been telling us for a hundred generations.

I am not impressed by lapel-pin American flags! I am not impressed by those who profess to be super-religious or discoverers of salvation. Those with dozens of religious rules are not admired by me. The blindly religious are marked by God’s disdain; for they have not heard Him calling out to them about his neglected children.

I admire those who hear the words of the prophets of old – and understand!

“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream!” [Amos 5:24]

America losing its grip
America once had this dream about the poor and “the huddled masses that yearned to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me…”

Now a whole, massive party of people turn away from America’s great and solemn dream; and they claim it is not a nation’s job to care – to care – to care.

“Leave the poor to care for the poor; and let the diseased care for the ill. We shall build higher fences and mightier gates to separate ourselves from the stench of the oppressed. And God be damned! We shall hide from His will!”

Justice appears now to be for those who can afford it! Yet, we beat our paths to expensive churches, mosques and synagogues to pray to a God who will not hear us because we have ignored his constant message to us.

I hate, I despise your feasts
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and cereal offerings,
I will not accept them,
and the peace offerings of your fatted beasts
I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever flowing stream!”
                                                               [Amos 5:24]

The message of the prophets is clear – even today: A nation that will not care for the least of its children is doomed to fold in upon itself and it will be trampled into the earth.

Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There is a Season) – made into an enormous, international hit in 1965 by The Byrds.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant
                                                                     a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together,
                                             a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
                                                                             [Ecclesiastes 3]

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