Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Of hurricanes, humans and 'having a good heart'

I was nosing around for information - recent updates - on the course of Hurricane Ike, when I came across a Canadian story followed by comments. One of the comments actually mentioned that the hurricane appears to be headed towards the Bush ranch in Crawford, and something about 'going out to buy champagne later.'

That bothered me. I recalled that I had posted something about Hurricane Ike heading towards Washington D.C., but I had only meant it as a metaphor. This is a real storm with a real path of destruction. That is an entirely different story.

As anyone who has read this blog can see, I am no fan of Bush policies. I have been very angry at times; many of us are angry. But I have a line I will not cross. I will never wish anyone ill.

Every spiritual leader that I've admired in my life - every one - was able to reach beyond themselves and wish the best to those around them; even when those around them wished them ill or persecuted them. Tibetan monks who languished for years in Chinese prisons apparently spent their time praying for their captors. The Dalai Lama himself prays for the leaders of the Chinese government, hoping always that they will have a change of heart.

And of course, Abraham Lincoln planned to rebuild the South after the Civil War; not loot it. Had he lived, the aftermath would have been much, much different.

I believe that there is very strong power for good in this attitude and action: but it takes reaching beyond the easy gut response. I also believe that the only way we are going to survive as a species and live in a peaceful world, is by growing spiritually. This has nothing to do with religion. This is all about being our best selves; being compassionate and returning every negative with a positive. I fall short much of the time, but I am still trying to reach for that high road. Here is my chance.

I can't change what others do and think, but I can change myself. I would like to be more like those Tibetan monks... and I see this as an opportunity to get a little closer to this goal. This is my opportunity to learn from those who surpass me spiritually, and I don't intend to let it pass me by.

I will be wishing only the best to all of Texas. I will be hoping that no harm will come to Bush's ranch in Crawford. Perhaps if I wish this hard enough, his ranch will not only escape damage, but a little good energy will go out into the world.

It is certainly worth a try.

Oh - I almost forgot - Jesus himself said "pray for those who persecute you." How odd that I forgot the Christian example. Perhaps because it is so seldom quoted these days...

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