Sometimes I wonder if the time is ripe to expatriate, (I had to look that up to make sure it was a verb.) Fly the coop, leave the nest, flee the ridiculous madness that American society seems so often to have become. Political bullying and name-calling, parties howling for each others’ blood, fundamentalist religion solidly in place among us, political correctness run amok. So many frightening, virulent insanities have become acceptable; even encouraged, to the detriment of us all.
I have no intention of singling out politicians; most of you know where I stand as regards the infantile behavior coming from the far- and middle-right of the political scale. To demonstrate, please listen to this:
I will single out Rush Limbaugh. You see, Rush is an entertainer — that is all he is. I didn’t realize that, at first. He is no political whiz; in fact, I would bet his radio program is well-scripted before he starts broadcasting, with callers identified before the show begins, so that Rush can be handed a cheat sheet covering the topics being raised. If a caller catches him off-guard, he blusters and stutters about how the caller is unreachable, or he changes the subject. In fact, the link above demonstrates Rush using these tactics with a caller until the call is cut off, and then he remembers the issues raised.
Next is political correctness. I was in seminary when the inclusive-language bible argument was burgeoning. This was the first instance I encountered wherein a disagreement about language being used to translate a book is the topic, especially when that book is 1950+ years old, and has been through many translations to get to the King James version. Because of this controversy, I managed to squeeze two years of koine Greek into one year; I wanted to read the text without years of translations blocking the original message.
From that time grew political correctness in language regarding women, gender, sexual preference, to name only a few. This was bad enough. But then, combine this movement with a group of parents who grew up with television, and therefore believe it to be showing them truth, and all of a sudden, anti-bacterial soap, health foods, the right school, the right job, the right car, and on and on and on. Recently, I was talking with a group of mothers of high school athletes in my home town who were afire with the idea that the high school football field should be covered in Astroturf.
My reaction: “WTF, (well, not really, but that was what I was thinking when I said What?” And two of the mothers had the gall to admit that they wanted it because other schools had it already. Not because the field is a former cow pasture, and ends up one muddy morass by halftime. Not even because they didn’t want little Johnny’s uniform to get so muddy and stinky and awful. No, the reason they wanted the town to spend between $800,000.00 and 2.7 million dollars was so they wouldn’t be embarrassed when another team visited our facilities. That money could have been spent to reopen the recently-closed clothing bank, or used to patch up a dozen badly-pocked roads in town.
Heaven forfend! We would feel inferior to schools which can afford to waste money on Astroturf.
Fundamentalist religions certainly belong in this list. They are nastier and meaner and more dangerous even than conservative political groups, of which they are often a part. Many fundamental, evangelical churches are filled with kind, loving people. But those organizations to which I object have very different agendas indeed. They insist, almost exclusively, that theirs is the proper and only way to worship, and that their job as a congregation is to convert the rest of us heathens to their faith.
To them, I offer a hearty Hell, No! I am horrified at the actions some churches take, claiming themselves good Christians while flaunting every principle ever attributed to Christ. And Christians aren’t the only religion affected by such radical conservatism; Islam is certainly proving to offer the same kind of out to its more fundamentalist groups, although they are less interested in converting, and more interested in purging the world of unbelievers, or so at least it seems to me.
And in both of these groups, as well as in politically conservative organizations, those who do not favor such tactics are afraid to speak out, for fear of becoming the next target.
So here I am, at a crossroads of sorts. My new, more positive self believes in change from within, and I hope to see the beginnings of that very soon. The older, more cynical me thinks it may be time to look for enough land to form a colony in Fiji.