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Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Threat Before Us

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:23-24)

I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days. (FDR’s First Inaugural Address).

It is again preeminently a time to speak the truth. America's great enemy today is once again fear and the chronic state of denial (and escapism) which it imposes. My readers appreciate that I have a religious bent. It is my firm conviction that the ultimate source of this fear, this denial of the truth, is the dark whisperings of the devil himself (the master of deceit and falsehood). He tells us we don't want to know the truth, that we can't handle it. That we don't have enough faith and that our faith anyway is groundless. He tells us “we don't want to go there.” I say flat-out “to hell with the devil.” It is high time we confront the devil and passionately tell him to his face that he's an abject liar and that we are on to his game-plan with its aim to destroy us.

Once, with God's help, the devil flees from us the first thing we must accept as truth is that our present system can be incredibly cruel, especially to the working poor. Without a living wage and without health benefits, we patronizingly tell them (many of whom work two jobs) to just work harder and go to night school and become a wealthy brain surgeon. We ration our health care in this way and when challenged we point to the failings of other systems rather than addressing the failings of our own. Sometimes only the remark of Christ adequately describes us--”we stain on a gnat but swallow a camel.”

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