Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Reality Check: Month 2, Part B.


Anonymous commented on my blog entry “Reality Check II” with these words:

“Well maybe when you visit Mexico, you can Leave your Liberal Democrate [sic] ways here, and open your mind towards the Real meaning of Malice towards none....... Life is to [sic] short to worry about Politics, something that you can't change and have to live with. It is what it is....”

As usual, I must begin with a story and work my way toward the ideas that I intend to express…… A friend of ours has been gracious enough to bless us with some meals and companionship during my recuperation from spinal surgery. Our friend is a living saint. I don’t mean “saint” according to my family’s religious tradition, but as in her tradition of faith. I have known Mrs. C since before she became Mrs. C. We met during my third year of teaching and worked in the same elementary school. Through the years I have grown to appreciate her kindness, encouragement, empathy, and respect.

She appreciates my humor and I her’s. She has commented positively on my style of writing and the sarcasm that I often employ. Busted, eh? So, as I respond to Anonymous’s comment, I will endeavor to refrain from my baser instincts…..

I have chosen to do a self-assessment or “reality check” of my blog entries precisely because I intend to be consistent and true to the concept of “with malice toward none”. It is necessary to return to my inspiration to complete that task. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, closed his second inaugural address with these words:

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and for his orphan -- do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

Lincoln not only spoke of the great obligation to end the Civil War, but of our faithful duty to bury the animus that sparked the conflict. Hatred must be replaced with kindness. Veterans, widows, and orphans were to be cared for as the nation healed. And, the Union and the Confederacy were challenged to “do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

My journey through life has been influenced by a modern prophet’s call “to be in the forefront of those organizations that recognize the worth of persons.” I have never regretted my choice to serve God as a minister, my choice to become a teacher, and my choice to be an activist in those causes that put me in the forefront of organizations that indeed recognized and affirmed the worth of all people. These “choices” required me to be politic, daring, and, at times, fearless.

I believe I know the meaning of “malice toward none.” In a recent conversation with Mrs. C., I was asked which commandments were important to my personal faith. Loving God with all my might, mind, and strength and, loving my neighbor is the embodiment of “malice toward none” and “charity for all.”

Life is too short not to live it. Life is change and it cannot be avoided. Frederick Madison Smith wrote that we all change “as we progress or retrogress.” I do not accept the idea that we can’t be “change agents” and that we must accept “what is”. If I had ever persisted in the thought that I could not be an instrument of change, I would have been a terribly teacher, leader, and pioneer.

Laws can embody standards; governments can enforce laws--but the final task is not a task for government. It is a task for each and every one of us. Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted--when we tolerate what we know to be wrong--when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy, or too frightened--when we fail to speak up and speak out--we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice. --- Robert F. Kennedy


Anonymous said...

Lee.... You have such thin skin, if you want to write about your ideals, thoughts, and secrets, you have to be able to take a little ribbing once in awhile. Gabe lighten up..... I'm sure when you go to Mexico, you will have a chance to relax and clear your busy body mind. Getting a few rays, good food, and a cultural experience to boot, and we all can get a break from your rants : )

Lee Harris said...

Okay, anonymous, I really don't have that thin of skin. I did make a joke out of you "head up the Democratic donkey's ass" in a later post. You might get a chuckle reading it.

Ahem, "Gabe lighten up...." --- Now that's a blast from the past. I haven't been called that for years, except by.........