As I write this a 48-year old mother of an American
soldier slain in Iraq is tenting for America's core values a mile from
the Crawford, Texas vacation spot for the supposedly most powerful man
in the world.
... an individual with the mantle of leadership upon whom an entire
nation placed its confidence and expectation of wisdom by way of formal
... an individual who uses words like "dying for a noble cause" in such
a throw-away manner as to arouse astonishment even among the troops
themselves and those veterans among us willing to speak up.
He has forfeited the moral high ground to a 48-year-old grieving mother
who says that a casual reference to "noble" falls way short of a real
answer to "Why?"
He and our republican-dominated leadership are in crisis across a broad
venue of scandals. His public appearances only make things worse
image-wise. It's that old moment when someone discredited should not say
any more because every time he does, he makes it worse.
It's been suggested that his only avenue of publicity is to appear in
tandem with other republicans still holding sufficient high public
standing to ricochet light to him.
But who has remained free from some sort of political taint? Not the
congressional legislators, not the republican evangelicals, none of the
potential 2008 republican successors to this discredited president.
Cindy Sheehan has taken full control of the moral high ground on the
Iraq War. Swift-Boating the mother of a soldier who died to preserve a
lie won't work the wonder it did on a presidential candidate last year.
I suspect that the
literalist psychology comes into play with biblical passages about raising
children "in the Lord" and the like.
Those swayed by the anti-cartoon rhetoric might possibly have some sense that
their child's relationship with anyone outside the family - at that tender
toddling age - could somehow compete with the intimate harmony of the family
in a home setting where spiritual brainwashing is so powerfully accomplished
as a normal part of growing up.
Such a concern might be more legitimate as the children get older - say nearer
the pre-pubsecent junior-high-school ages when peer pressure mounts with
In a home where a dissatisfied Christian conscience possibly acknowledges that
the family life has not been "perfect" as idealized in every Christian
congregation, the parents justifiably -in their heart of hearts - sense that
forcing religion on children may not have been the best way.
Communicating religious dogma and doctrine is a hell of a lot easier than
communicating a spiritual sense of ethical morality and doing good for the
sake of goodness.
How many kids grow up in so-called Christian homes having reached a point of
tuning out the preaching?
How many have grown up admiring their parents but struggling with a sense of
quiet desparation in not living up to an unreasonable standard of
"righteousness" that has made so many Christian clergy-celebrities rich and so
many families torn?