My fingers hover over the keys, feeling the concepts pulsating, but uncertain of the first words. I know the ideas will plait together into a strong, beautiful rope, but which strand do I cross over first? This piece may require me to write before I figure it out, to start braiding and let the pattern form itself. Here goes…
Strand 1 – According to W. Cleon Skousen’s book The 5,000 Year Leap, the terms “left wing” and “right wing” are derived from our national emblem – the eagle with outstretched wings. His body is covered with an escutcheon bearing the red and white stripes and the field of blue from our flag. Each wing represents an attitude about government – the left a dependence upon strong, central rule; the right a belief in the sovereignty of each individual and a wariness of federal power. The country, represented by the escutcheon, centers itself in perfect balance over the heart of the majestic bird.
Strand 2 – However, that is not to imply that a middle ground exists. It would be nice if it did; we could all just move into that hazy median, smoke a joint and be friends. We wouldn’t have to think; we wouldn’t have to know things; we wouldn’t have to form opinions. Nirvana.
Wait a minute – nirvana isn’t on this earth – I don’t think it’s anywhere, but I know it’s not here.
Strand 3 -- The truth is we either want lots of government tinkering with our lives, or we don’t. The body of the eagle can sit comfortably between the two wings, but we, the citizens, cannot. We are either on the right wing or the left. If we all try to sit in the middle, the bird won’t fly. The idea is not to compromise, but to discuss until we can clearly see the wise, moral, practical solution – which on one issue will be on the right and on another on the left. The idea that we can find a middle place on every issue is one of the methods used to draw us left; it’s a snake-like, come-hither concept that is both deceptive and destructive; it is not the truth. Compromise means that each side gives up something – if there is any truth in the principles that drive either side, those principles should not be abrogated or sacrificed to reach a solution; a solution based on giving up principles is not going to solve anything.
Strand 4 -- The truth is also that either we believe in the concept of truth, or we don’t. No middle ground there. Either there is, outside of space and time, perfect, absolute truth, or there isn’t. Though “There is no absolute truth” is a truth statement of absolute proportions, so any thinking on those grounds is pretty shaky.
Strand 5 -- The truth is that either Christ is Who He said was or He wasn’t. If He wasn’t God and our Savior, which He claimed to be, then He was a liar, or a lunatic. No centrist position there, either. No half-stoned drifting. No he-was-a-nice-man sweetness. And the choice is not academic – it’s not even life-or-death; it’s eternal bliss or everlasting suffering. Big stakes. No compromise. Either, or.
Strand 7 – America has been drifting leeward for generations – we can start counting at Woodrow Wilson’s twisted progressivism a hundred years ago, which would be tidy. Or we could start with FDR’s dynasty when America took a huge lurch left. We can look at the leftist acceleration during Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society power grab. Our current president has yanked us so far left that we’re all feeling stretched and breathless; we’ve always felt so superior to the medieval fools who thought the world was flat, but now those of us who are listening are afraid, in spite of the Earth’s apparent roundness, that there’s an edge close by after all. We can hear the water plummeting. We’re seeing Europe disappearing, country by country, over the roaring precipice.
Strand 8 – We have been drifting away from our Christian roots for generations as well. Charles Darwin gave the boat the first shove in 1859 with his Origin of the Species. Note that precedes the political shift to the left. Though precedence does not prove causation, a close comparison of the progressive worldview and Darwin’s ideas does. Both are based on the assumptions that God isn’t, that therefore man has no moral obligations, and that only the fittest have the right to survive.
Strand 9 – Those of us who’ve been watching this progression for several decades are so horrified that we’re starting to shed the old Emily Post mandate that one should not discuss in public either religion or politics. It seemed wise, and certainly headed off millions of unpleasant altercations. Agree to disagree – that has a nice ring to it and we thought it kept the eagle balanced. We didn’t notice that our reluctance to give our religious beliefs some air has allowed the secular mindset to wrap its snaky self around the neck of the eagle, strangling its voice. Our politeness, our shyness about letting down our political hair, has allowed the whole bird to silently drift to the sinister side.
(Yes – I too have dearly beloved family members who don’t see either politics or religion the way I do. I have friends who are aghast that my bumper bears stickers demanding that we “Legalize the Constitution,” and warning, “ Don’t’ tell Darwin -- Science has Evolved.” Tread tactfully we must, but be silent? I don’t think we have that luxury anymore.)
Strand 10 -- I know our schools have, ever since John Dewey at the turn of last century, pretended to be centrist organizations all the while nudging the thinking of our students slowly left. Remember, there is no middle ground – whoever is claiming to stand there is either not thinking very clearly, or not telling the truth. There are Christian, conservative teachers in our schools, but they are in the minority and they’re expected to be silent and to teach a curriculum that does not question Darwin or present conservative viewpoints favorably. My students were often shocked at my conservative stance, partly because I taught modern American poetry and modern dance, but mostly because so few teachers were.
There. That’s a heck of a braid – wings and escutcheons, Darwin and Dewey, truth and deception, etiquette and the survival of a nation. My bet is on the bird, but my assurance is in my Savior. Jesus Christ gives us the free will to determine our eternal destiny, but He cares for us enough to also control history. Let us pray that He will throw His weight into pulling us back from that awful edge.
Braid photos from http://theberry.com/2012/02/27/full-of-braids-today-36-photos/