Tuesday, October 20, 2009

“Oh Say Can You See”

Joe Ortiz 

     The major league baseball playoffs will soon decide who gets to go to the 2009 World Series. Most baseball fans consider this to be the penultimate event of the year. I’ve attended several World Series events (the one between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees in 1963, where the Dodgers beat the New York bombers in four straight games) is my all-time favorite.
      In addition to the excitement, eating Dodger Dogs, peanuts and popcorn (and one or two ice cold cups of beer), the part that I remember and enjoy the most is singing our national anthem. Every time I sang it in school, and especially while attending a sporting event, it has always brought tears to my patriotic eyes. However, the only tears I have been shedding lately are for the sad state of affairs we are experiencing in this great country of ours, especially its dividedness. This sadness is more profound and visible as we see the national mean-spirited discussion concerning Immigration Reform.
      Most pundits are saying whatever the solution (to grant healthcare and amnesty or not to illegal immigrants) could very well turn our country into a different direction; but which direction? Both sides have launched campaigns that stoke the furnace of fear and insecurity, and they both believe they have the only solution. Liberal Democrats lean towards leniency with those who have crossed the borders without any authority.  Conservative Republicans say law breakers have to be punished and returned back to their respective countries or else all sense of order will never be restored and will provide more of the same problems (lack of national security, unemployment, a rise in taxes, etc.).
      I personally abhor outdated labels such as liberal and conservative. Those labels paint unqualified perceptions of the individual and deny the opportunity to evaluate their hearts intent. Conservatives say their adherents are for less government; however, it’s the government leaders (at the national level, especially) who are shelling (no pun intended) out billions of your tax dollars for war-making purposes that result solely in filling the purses of the money-changers. Liberals say they are concerned more so about the American citizen, promising a chicken in every pot. Their philosophies are both weak to the truth!
      Regardless, the variance in views has polarized our American family as never before. But more importantly, these respective doctrines fail because they never truly consider the spiritual question. I’m not speaking about the emotional nor the patriotic spirit, but the spirit of human creation itself!
      Yes, I still believe our country was formed to escape the church dictating the affairs of states as was the case with most of the old Western world. Our nation supposedly was founded so its citizens would have the freedom to practice the religion of their choice and live within the framework of a fair and just government. The idealism behind the Constitution was a mindset that spoke about liberty and justice for all. The bedrock of this ideology emanated from its people’s heart and soul. It spoke about its love and respect for family, hard work, pioneering spirits, and especially for its commitment to the good for all of our fellow human beings. I believe this spirit came from God!
     Somehow, however, we seem to have lost our way. Yes! We got bombed by terrorist in our own back yard and we are now more guarded about security issues. And, like the judicious country that we are, we needed to corral the culprits and bring them to justice, as we always have. Instead, the political and media grinding machines stoked and fanned the flames of fear and paranoia that exists to this day. We trust no one, and our ‘love thy neighbor’ hearts now palpitate a wave of racism and hatred that has turned into an un-American monster tsunami that floods the heart and soul of a once admired and respected nation. Worse, our supposed cultural differences have become the giant smokescreen that fogs the eyes of the human spirit.
      Something sadder and more horrific than the threat of unemployment, a depressed economy, and tanking real estate market (our family lost $250,000 already) is blinding the hearts and minds of the America family. This national nativism is dissipating the spirit it received over 200 hundred years ago, an inspired people which had been the envy of the world. Nowadays, we are seen by too many other countries as selfish, self-centered peoples, being more concerned about our individual welfare and deny any share of the American dream to those who believed its historical mantra.
     Showcasing by example a strong democratic system to the world is a great idea, but not if it is void of the heart, soul and spirit that once made it the envy of the world. The example we have set in these last two years, in regards to the ‘immigrant solution’ especially, both politically and spiritually, have been of such hubris, gluttony, self indulgence, arrogance, power hungry and cultural mendaciousness, it’s no wonder America’s image has been damaged as never before. Yet no elected government official cries out for a sensible solution to the immigration problem; seeking solely for a way to retain their seats of power. This is not true leadership!
      We definitely are the freest country in the world. Maybe we have too much freedom. But, we don’t accept this criticism with any degree of unity. Instead, we cling to our Liberal or Conservative mantras and slug it out with each other, with immigrants being treated like yesterday’s broken piñata rather than the national resource they have proven to be since the founding of this once great country. Both sides have valid points, but both miss the mark when it comes to human dignity, when we should be about amicably solving the problem rather than stoking a vile and putrid hatred never before seen or imagine in U.S. history.
      The biggest message we are sending today is that the American family is a divided nation! The reason for this is that we depend not on God’s immutable laws, but on our own manmade systemic doctrines. It’s more about ‘us Americans’ against people of color, the Left or of the Right, not about God’s truth. We don’t agree with the other person’s philosophy; it’s all about a one sided jingoistic rhetoric that hides an inner hatred of people with different languages, skin colors and unique cultural traditions by calling their fellow human beings ‘lawbreakers, rather than trusting and depending on God’s wisdom to arrive at an equitable solution for all concerned. Many will say this is religious rhetoric, but God has said and He has placed it into the conscience of each individual to know the difference between right and wrong, whether they have read or ever studied God’s word.
      But this national dividedness is our own fault! And it begins in our respective households! The tenor of the day is what we call reality, that insidious underbelly of human nature that permeates every aspect of today’s society. You can see it best on our media screen with show subtle images that they know can pierce the heart of a people who have wanted nothing more or nothing less than what all Americans aspire. Our media are pouring forth images that negate the very tenets embodied in the Ten Commandments, such as “Love Thy Neighbor.”
      Media (and those who pay for the clever innuendos) do this so craftily you have to wonder who is responsible and why this subtle denigration of a people’s culture, language and traditions prevails. But, it’s not just about selling idiotic costumes, it’s about selling hatred and divisiveness that is slowly, but surely, eating away at the core values and the Godly fabric that makes up the entire American family. Our respective families are the mirror of our society. And unfortunately, we are divided as never before in our history! We lack the self-respect, courtesy, dignity and honor that were once the envy of every nation in the entire world.
     We used to be a great people. We were known for our charity to all of humanity. Now we indulge self, not only our stomachs and our eyes, but our hearts, minds and souls with a putridity never before imagined. While we can’t see this, others can! What message are we sending to the rest of the world? Is this the character of tomorrow’s American Family!
      This country is my family, and this country needs to heal its spiritual malaise. This country is Anglo, Mexican, black, Asian, Native American and a myriad of other nationalities, a people who were either born or arrived here to fulfill the American Dream. Its people and its leaders need to look inwardly and recapture the spirit that blazed a path of glory for over 200 years, one that was based not on man conceived philosophies (Left or Right, liberal or conservative), but on the fundamental principles embodied in God’s word.
      The next time you attend a sporting event with your kids, or a school function, where they begin singing our national anthem, when those words of one of the most beautiful songs ever written proclaims, “Oh say can you see,” ask yourself if you can really see what’s truly going on within our America family. Then say a little prayer for God to forgive us for what we are doing and to quickly begin the healing. Remember! We can’t heal family problems we claim do not exist!

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land, (2 Chronicles 7:14).

For the conclusion, click here>>>>>   National Anthem


[Joe Ortiz is the author of two books that challenge the Left Behind and Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and premillennial dispensational precepts and doctrines being promoted by many right-wing evangelicals. The two books include The End Times Passover (Etymological Challenges to Millenarian Doctrines) and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (The Sequel to The End Times Passover), published by Author House. The former talk show host, journalist and news columnist is the first Mexican American to host a show on an English-language, commercial radio station, beginning in 1971 at KABC-AM Radio in Los Angeles.]

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