by J. C. Bowman
I have never been one to mince words. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. It is not too hard of a concept. Tell the truth the first time and you will not have to spend time trying to explain or un-explain your current story. It works well for me in life, I am not too sure it would work in politics.
Recently I spent an afternoon reading "You Can Lead a Politician to Water; But You Can't Make Him Think" by Kinky Friedman. You remember Kinky the singer who gave us a lovely ballad such as "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven (And Your Buns in the Bed)" among others. Nevertheless, it is a good book and I give it two thumbs up. However, some of you will want to wash out the mouth of the author, my advice read the book just wash your hands afterward instead and use soap. Kinky Friedman does not mince words either, and some of his words are of the four letter variety. There, you have been warned. Now buy the book, especially if you are an elected official.
A few of the lessons I gleaned from Kinky's points: The American political landscape needs a major overhaul. That is fairly obvious. He believes the hucksters, the wealthy, and the two faced rule; there is no room for truth and the little guys are quickly forgotten in all the muck. Harkening back to the crowd picking Barabbas over Jesus illustrated a key point. Two thousand years have passed; Jesus is still changing the world, we haven't heard from Barabbas since.
Kinky astutely states, "Politics as usual rolls across America like a noxious vapor." His point is it probably does not matter whether Republicans or Democrats run the country. It is just a different swarm of locusts moving into Washington. He says quoting Reverend Goat Carson: "The Republicans and the Democrats have become the same guy admiring himself in the mirror." The book is witty and full of many insights we have all thought from time to time yet failed to verbalize.
However, the contribution I took from this book is railing against apathy. I think Kinky Friedman hit the nail on the head. We are an apathetic society. We just do not care. Until we slay the dragon of voter apathy, politics will remain the same as usual forever. Apathy suppresses change. Apathy is a destroyer of love, hope, faith, talent, and even communities, states and nations. Take a good look this election, Kinky Friedman is on to something. I predict a 30% turnout rate in the presidential election. Sad state of affairs isn't it?
It reminds me of the conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, taken from Lewis Carol's Alice In Wonderland: "Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?" asked Alice. "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don't much care where . . . ," said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
It should matter to all of us which way we go. And I will tell you it is time to speak up and speak out. Another great country song "Fall for Anything" reminds us: If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything. Kinky reminds me in his book of the dangers of political correctness. We are reminded Joseph Stalin coined the term political correctness. I would also note that Stalin also said that the broad mass of the people will believe a big lie rather than a small one if repeated often enough. All too often we fall victim to that great danger of political correctness.
For example, we let the Ten Commandments be taken off the walls of government buildings and schools by people to whom it should not really matter. In the first place, far too many people are not following them, but they are great suggestions and worthy of thought by those who understand moral fiber. It unites us, it does not divide us. According to Friedman, "We all know what happens to an atheist when he dies. His tombstone usually reads: All dressed up and no place to go." So, if you are not going to follow the Ten Commandments and you don't believe in God why do you care if some of us do? If you have the faith of a mustard seed why are you one of the wusses out there still afraid to say, Merry Christmas?
If you are a Christian, do you have an effeminate image of Jesus, gentle, meek and mild? Let me suggest you need a more robust faith. Yes Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek, but he also led tough fishermen, cast out money changers from the temple, and spoke truth to the political and religious leaders of the day. Jesus had the courage and strength to endure a tough physical beating and ultimately the sacrifice of His life, and He is coming again to punish the wicked and rule the earth! Does that sound like a wimp to you?
Internet writer Bill Jones Jr. made a perceptive thought when he wrote: "I consider myself to be a Godly man, and very tough. I see no contradiction there. My goal in life is to generate energy that says "if you choose me as an enemy, I will act in a Godly way to the extent possible, right up until I have to hurt you... a lot." Now I am not into physical violence, but the US Marine in me does not fear it either. But what I want to know, Is your faith manly enough to give Thanks to God at Thanksgiving and to wish others a Merry Christmas?
Religious Critic and former comedian Bill Maher has just made a movie called "Religulous." Why is Christian bashing the only form of discrimination still acceptable in America? Maher may think it is funny, I certainly do not. The crowd is still calling Barabbas when it chooses Maher. It is believed that by the year 2050 Christianity will be the minority religion in America. You can ask yourself the questions How? Or why? The answer is obvious we have a society of wusses that fear speaking up for their faith. We have an abundance of people like Bill Maher willing to belittle and mock it. Sooner or later something has to give. Whatever happens is up to you.