Thursday, September 6, 2012

Divided We Fall (Keep Mucking On)

Two major parties vie for a position of power in America this election year. You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger polarization of politics in recent years, although my mother remembers President Truman's surprise win over Dewey in'48. But that seems a world ago, just after the dust of WW II was beginning to settle.

I'd be telling tales if I didn't agree that both sides have produced some compelling speeches, while systematically deconstructing the platforms of each other. If rhetoric alone wins races, it will be razor close.

Perhaps more unsettling is the division in the Democratic Party. The vote to include references to the Deity  in whose name the country was founded, and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel, an enormous collective dissent could be heard at last night's meeting when those present were given a chance to vote by voice.  In a country where votes are counted by elaborate machinery and voting is scrupulously regulated, it seemed a shotgun approach to an intricately complicated issue. It's not really complicated for me, but I do understand it may be for my fellow atheist Americans, or our fellow Arab Americans with relatives in Palestine.

The system of government we set up over 236 years ago held the freedom of religion as its centerpiece, the very reason for its existence. Doubtless, the founders never imagined an America where the freedom to oppose religion could hold its own as a political force. Closely aligned with the Judeo-Christian view is an "Israel in the side-pocket" policy stemming from the many admonitions in the scriptures such as the Psalmist words  "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" and the Genesis promise of Jehovah to Abraham, "I will bless those that bless you". Without a belief in the Almighty, none of it makes any sense at all. I get that.

But apparently, the Democrats don't. I'd be curious to hear the same vote put to a Republican gathering. And if that sounds far-off to you, just a few short years ago no one would have believed such a vote would even be thinkable.

We have changed, and we don't know who we are yet. Thanks to the Democratic Party for pointing this out. It explains a whole lot.

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