Those prejudiced political power brokers, now trying to hang a liturgical lock on this nation’s spiritual inception, as a Christian entity, had best beware of history’s recurrent habit of self-correction…much like proof that appears to be surfacing, now. For starters, let’s not forget the Native American tribes who were here, when the Holy-Roller "conversionists" first set out to "civilize" the “savages” who helped them survive the rigors of this untamed land, they’d come to conquer. The Amerinds’ own religion taught them to respect and preserve what nature had provided but their fortune-hunting Christian conquerors were determined to despoil. One hesitates to contradict historic errors that have (for some) become part wish-prejudiced and nationally accepted misstatements…but when facts surface, despite repetition to the contrary, truthful contradiction must intercede, like it or not.
I’ve visited this issue earlier; even quoted Teddy Roosevelt’s warning, that “…the one absolute certainty of bringing this nation to ruin, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.” I might have left the matter there, if the “This is a Christian nation!...” claque hadn’t decided to intensify their contention several decibels louder than before. What seems to have gotten them steamed up now, is a complaint from a Jewish person and an Atheist, both of whom took issue over having to sit through public prayer sessions before their Town Council’s meetings (the council being an all-Christian one) and pushed their complaint all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court, citing other instances of pre-meeting prayer by higher government units, allowed as how something similar, at the local level, wouldn’t be that bad to sit through and said so in writing, which emboldened the ‘pro-Christian-Nation choir’ to add heft to their chant.
In the realm of recorded religious history, regardless of geographic location or form of belief, disagreements that evolve into armed violence mostly have been the result of familial differences, fuelled by ill defined loyalty and interference by meddlesome outsiders. These invariably have led to blood feuds, unresolved to this day. Those who interpose themselves as mediators, well meaning or not, are doomed to certain and expensive failure.
In the past week, an important event in theatrical history celebrated an even more crucial event in our nation’s political history, when Gerald Rafshoon and Lawrence Wright (confidante and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright) presented “Camp David,” a dramatization of the thirteen volatile days of intense debate that produced the first negotiated agreement on a peace initiative between Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin; the most historically vital achievement of the Carter Presidency.
Those who would pillory our current President with biased blame for every current ill, to which their own calculated intransigence has contributed, are at odds with political history. Before they finagle with falsehood and fabricate pure political fiction, to capture unworthy vindication by voters, they should consult the 1978 edition of a tiny text, this commentator still finds invaluable. It’s titled “American History At A Glance.” This is a brief quote from Chapter 14, titled: “The Harding Administration.”
In the strange reversal of circumstances that have taken place since the Sochyi Olympics seemed to have breathed new vitality into a lifeless Soviet cadaver, this commentator intuits and fears the possible return to times we all could and should have done without.
The current saga being played out by Vladimir Putin, the former spy-master and head of the Soviet Secret Police, before declaring himself Executive In Chief of the on-again-off-again Russian Democracy, with its on-again-off-again Presidency-cum-Premiership, puts this ancient, moss-back memorialist in mind of some simple truths, it might be helpful or hurtful but important to bear in mind, never-the-less.
Recent announcements by regional theaters and theatrical companies, in New York’s Capital District and in nearby New England, reveal a spate of performances by Broadway road-shows and locally arranged productions of renowned theatrical works of the past. Their goals, to make today’s younger audiences familiar with them, thus keep them historically alive. The idea, although rooted in increased audiences and revenues, is an entirely worthy one. So much so, it put this elderly commentator on the scent of an appropriate vehicle to familiarize young people with historic political events, worthy of remembrance, through retelling by ethical narrators. Thus providing better informed citizens, should the same situations occur again, in the future.
There’s been much angst expressed by parents of America’s children and youth, of late, about the rapid erosion of funds and services, to provide education needed to prepare them for appropriate and gainfully competitive adulthood. There’s also been a mounting volume of critical carping and castigation by those in government, responsible for providing the funds necessary to achieve adequate levels of education and warnings of dire consequence, from those invested with the onus to plan and produce educational services at superior levels of educational accomplishment, from the President and throughout his executive departments.
Back before the phenomenon called “Social Media” Ping-ponged anyone and everyone’s personal plaints as gospel, across a fact-hungry universe, H.G. Wells declared: “Lies are the mortar that bind the savage individual into the social masonry.” He may have been right but what about truth? What’s become of it in this mélange of personal prerogative presentations, unleashed and unlicensed?