Saturday, August 27, 2011

It Takes Two Wings to Soar

To Soar Like An Eagle

It is a symbol of America; flying, soaring, free, noble and beautiful. The eagle cannot soar without both wings; right wing and left wing.
The left wing tends to be liberal, with a heart for the poor and the disadvantaged, the working people, and the middle class. The left wing sees the need to adjust taxation so that the rich, the super-rich and the multi-national corporation pay their fair share.
The right wing tends to be conservative, with a heart for those who have earned their money and are doggedly committed to letting them keep it. The answer for these folks is tax cuts, so that business can save us all
Thus I over-simplify, but no doubt each wing can express their feelings and thoughts with conviction. That, at least, is the idea. However, what we see instead is partisanship hobbling our national spirit. Bi-partisanship is a word, but it is like statesmanship; marked more by its absence than by it presence.The right wing found its voice with Limbaugh and Fox News. Now, finally the left wing is finding its voice too, somewhat too little, too late.
The problem is that we are no longer able to have conversation with each other. Both the left and right wing deny each other, without realizing the Eagle cannot soar without both. As a left wing liberal, I am convinced we need the conservative wing, but I am not so convinced that the right wing thinks the same about me. In fact I am convinced that the right wing thinks I pose a threat to the republic with my socialist leanings. Truth be told, I feel the same way about the right wing because if the wealth of the country is concentrated in too few hands the republic is also threatened.
Just today I tried to have conversation with yet another conservative. It quickly degenerated into accusation and counter accusation. This concerns me. If we cannot have civil conversation in this country, we will never learn to fly let alone soar.
Congress in in gridlock for much of the time. The nation is divided into polarities and we seem to push one another further apart. This is what poses a threat to the republic; not so much that the left/right wing is correct and the other wrong; it is because we cannot seem to come and reason together.
A nation that cannot hold conversation cannot endure. In almost every quarter, we hear of the tenor of debate in Washington has deteriorated to the point where there is no conversation, merely posturing and political arm wrestling. Moreover, we are not so much in gridlock as we are in a cat-fight. Our political life seems poisoned with diatribe, vitriol, and a constant undertone of racism. I am reminded of an old Irish Limerick that goes like this;

There once were two cats from Kilkenny
Each thought there was one cat too many
So they fought and they fit
And they spat and they spit
'Til instead of two cats, there weren't any.

The Limerick is not only a telling object lesson for feuding families and their tragic ends. They are also a prophetic warning to us. Unless we learn to listen, probe, and support one another and then respond with the same courtesy in return, we run the risk of watching this nation go to ruin.
Read the history books my friends. It was the threats from within, that felled the Republic of Rome. The sad chronicle of each succeeding Empire is full of the divisive self destructive tendencies from within, one tiresome time after another. Is this to be our fate? Just another Empire, just another civilization coming and going?
The Eagle! What a glorious symbol for a nation! A house divided against itself cannot stand. A bird without two wings cannot fly. I miss a time when Eisenhower considered all of us Americans. I miss Lincoln and those fine Republicans who pulled us together. What I miss mostly however, is just you and me, in the art of conversation; an art-form that has fallen sadly into disrepair.
Fr. Paul

1 comment:

Larry said...

Well said, Fr. Paul. I think you've nailed it.

- Larry, Utah
A fiscal conservative and social liberal