Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Thoughts: There are so many issues in our country and the world with which we must grapple. Thanksgiving, I think, gives us pause to stop and reflect upon those things in life that should gain prominence and separate for us what is significantly important from what is not. I think of Thanksgiving as our national day of meditation that should calm us, force us to reflect, be with those we love and lead us to rationally think about what we do and the consequences of how we do it.

In this Internet age information, true or otherwise, is sent in the second of an eye’s blink. One can say one heard a giraffe reading “War and Peace” and someone somewhere would believe it true. Facts in our culture are often taken as fiction and fiction is believed to be fact.

From the whirling dervish of Sandusky, the alleged Penn State pedophile, to the explosions in the Middle East, economic upheaval that is much of Europe and the barbed vitriolic division at home is enough to drive a sane man into the snake pit of insanity. How can we right these most egregious wrongs? I am as guilty as those I criticize for allowing my passion for critical analysis to appear as angry in tone as it is razor sharp in message. For that I apologize.

What is wrong with man that he cannot control his appetites for money, his lust for power and the anarchy of his sexuality? Those facts of life, necessary to cultural advancement if unchained lose their rationales for being and propel man to his inevitable destruction. Greed is necessary to help us create new things, money is a necessary tool of man’s economic advancement and sexuality, of course, is necessary to continue the species. And yet we use these necessary things to excess, hurting those we claim to love and even killing those with whom we may disagree.

There are those in human history who come at opportune times to show us a better path. They gain notoriety for what they say but as man is wont to do he perverts the goodness of their words honing them into a destructive force. I am not Christian. I have, though, loved the many elements of Christianity’s teaching. It is a humane compass. Jesus is supposed to have said “He who has not sinned cast the first stone.” Jesus is supposed to have said “Why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? Jesus is supposed to have said “I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Jesus is supposed to have said "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."

I will never be a member of any organized religion or even accept other elements of faith but the purity of the words of Christ handed down through the ages, albeit difficult to follow, give a roadmap directing us how to treat the other who occupies the same planet as we. Thanksgiving for me is the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement without the fast) of our nation because it teaches us to appreciate what we have, apologize for the caustic things we do or say, change the things we can and vow to do better next year. Happy Thanksgiving.