Saturday 22 August 2009


I asked some professional chaplain friends in an e-list we have (most are Americans) what the heck was happening to my country after quoting a retired chaplain friend who had sent this response on a different forum where were were discussing all the screeching opposition to health care reform: "Clair, your country has let the inmates out -- they are showing up with their guns, their warped ideas, their hatred and racism, and their ignorance. You can watch all this from afar and gain more perspective than we can who are in the midst of it all. These folks are the dupes of big money from the pharmaceuticals, but also from political bodies out to destroy the Obama administration by any means available. Democracy is at the mercy of the fanatics today."

Well, that got the dander up! One of them replied and a couple others chimed in, as well:

"Just a word from a ‘token’ conservative on the list. I am a bit appalled by the venom of the retired chaplain’s reply. Ovid, the Latin Poet/philosopher, wrote in about 18 bc; Because I am not understood, am I a barbarian here? (That’s my translation from of Latin of “Tristia”). As you might suppose, I am not for more government intrusion into our daily lives. I still believe that advances in every facet of life and commerce are greatly aided by competition. I am convinced that the present push for a universal health care has not as its foundational power the pure betterment of the people, but instead, the primary motive of gaining votes and remaining in power. You know the Question, “What at politicians best at? Answer: Getting reelected.” I suppose that we all in some degree attempt to make ourselves indispensable to our employers and constituencies. But, I see this as an attempt to sell the future of our families and country in order to make a name, secure a place in History, and an incremental attack on fundamental doctrines of freedom espoused by our forefathers.

When, as it is appearing in this debate, there is a paradigm shift in basic support, it is common for the weakening factor to resort to name calling, ie. "Clair, your country has let the inmates out -- they are showing up with their guns, their warped ideas, their hatred and racism, and their ignorance."

Clair, you don’t know me except for an occasional e-mail (to which you has always responded with grace) but, I feel that name calling and stereotyping are surely beneath the social decorum, professionalism, training and character of those who have chosen or been chosen to be in ministry. (In using ‘ministry’ I’m taking into account the push for secular chaplaincy but, we all still have to be ordained and endorsed by a religious body). If a civil exchange and challenge of positions is impossible among those who are trained to be accepting of other’s ideas/ ideals, there is not much hope for a peaceful conclusion of any great, widespread or national problems we face today or in the future."


Well, a few of us made some more attempts at "grace-full" exchange, but now I think I need to do a bit of healthy venting. And, after all, it is my blog!

Frank Kromkowski, a peace activist friend from Montana, forwarded this provocative piece to me a couple of days ago. I think it brings my other retired chaplain friend's point home, but in a slightly different slant -- and I'll admit I cleaned the original wording up a bit near the very end:


You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.
You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.
You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.
You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.
You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.
You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.
You didn't get mad when you saw the Abu Grahib photos.
You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.
You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You didn't get mad when we let a major US city drown.
You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when.. when... wait for it... when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.

Yes, the illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, and stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer - are all ok with you. But, helping other Americans... well @!$%# that!

Is that about right? You know it is.


Yep, I'd say that's some pretty serious stuff -- and some serious "attitude!" Definitely needs to be balanced by a bit of humor to lighten the load. So, dear reader, allow me to further lapse in maintaining my "civil discourse" for a moment, because...

I want to share some blatantly sarcastic "reflections" from still yet another friend responding to this very same piece. It's tone is actually reminiscent of some of the conversations I've been having these days among my Aussie friends and acquaintences.

My Aussie friends are, for the most part, either intrigued or somewhat worried by the sight of blue (and white) collar conservatives - many of which are the very people who have the most to gain by these reforms, if passed - allowing themselves to get all whipped up by powerful vested interests within "the opposition" to rabble-rouse on their behalf during those town meetings in August all across America.

Most of my friends and colleagues living on this side of the Big Pond are not reticent to share their own candid reflections and perceptions about social and political realities in America. (And you should also know that Aussies love to utilize "colorful" language - even many of the "religious" folk!)

So here goes...

"Like good sheep, the Silent Majority only speaks up when they're scared. And told to. As long as it doesn' t involve taxes, blacks taking their money, or aliens coming to take their daughters or grandmas for rape, death and icky sex, these people don't care about war (the enemy deserves to die), the deficit (what exactly it that anyway?), New Orleans because it's filled with lazy blacks who were too dumb to take a bus, wiretapping (its always someone else that's bad and deserves it.) Anyone that got tortured probably was guilty or they wouldn't be getting tortured (who's Abu Graib?) "W" wasn't a Yankee and talked good so it's OK if he's President, twicest. Energy Officials are rich and wear ties to work so how could they do anything wrong? Someday I'm gonna be an Energy Official! The Patriot Act is good, it's for Patriots like me and I know how to act right. No war can be illegal, or it wouldn't be a war, what does this 'outing' mean?, who's Walter Reed? Trillion billion schmillion, whatever. Whatever it takes to get rid of the Evildoers. "I'm not giving my money to lazy n**** ers and hippies that won't work and make bad life choices. I like my insurance and my medicare just right, don't let the damn government take it over. This where I draw the line. You think the damn government could run a Death Panel right? I'm real happy with my own private United Health Care Death Panel. It's good for business and freedom and the market and it aint no socialism. I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK! I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK! I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!"

Hmmmmmm... if the shoe fits...


1 comment:

  1. Loved your posting, Clair: "You Didnt Get Mad"

    Isn't that just the truth? I wrote a similar article back in 2003 when our leaders ignored the United Nations - as well as nearly all the experts, including the Bush Administration's own people - to go ahead and launch that war. I was - and still am - quite mad.

    I guess it takes a different strategy to get the majority of the people worked up, though. Maybe something needs to shake them up, like what I saw in today's Goshen News that is appalling to my foreign friends.



    Goshen News Friday August 21, 2009:
    "A spaghetti dinner benefit is planned for Aug Nappanee for Renea K., a young girl who received facial injuries after a dog attack in late July. Substantial medical expenses have been incurred, so the fund raiser is to help offset those expenses."

    Only in the UNITED STATES do you find things like this in every newspaper or on posters around town. We are the only country that forces families to *BEG* for help when they get hurt.

    How can anyone be okay with that?

    When some friends of ours were visiting from England, they spotted one of those coin canisters on a countertop at a local mini-mart. The sign on the canister had a photo of a little boy lying in a hospital bed, and asked if you would donate your change to help pay the massive out of pocket expenses he would need for a life saving organ transplant.

    Our European friends looked at us quite puzzled and said, "Is this FOR REAL???"

    That's when it really hit home for me, the difference between what they have and what we don't have.

    How can any of us be okay with that?