November 5, 2012

The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost

“America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” - Rev. Jeremiah Wright

As a colloquialism the phrase “the chickens have come home to roost” is a quaint way of saying that what goes around comes around, or more directly, actions have consequences. As a theme, ideologues from many persuasions have tried to use it to explain America primarily by her flaws and failings.

The problem with condemning all Americans for past mistakes only shows the weakness of the measure they use rather than truly telling the story of America. Focusing on failures has merit if the measure is the founding principles rather than the opinions of historians, charlatans and pundits or the ignoble acts of incompetent politicians.

For example, as a white man, I can’t recall any race-baiting socialist, like Louis Farrakhan, ever crediting my ancestors for shedding their blood to eradicate slavery. If white people are such monsters, and deserve to go to hell, as Rev. Dr. James Lowery taunts, why would they lay down their lives? For love of black people or love of the principle that all men are created equal? Just like Jesus Christ, there’s a pretty compelling argument made for a man’s willingness to shed his own blood for others; an argument that eviscerates (which means, ironically, to remove the entrails from; disembowel, e.g., to eviscerate a chicken) criticism of his motives. If we were to focus on the fact that America eventually got the slavery issue right, we could go much further in continuing our efforts to strengthen relationships in honoring one another.

We may not even personally like black folks, white folks, asians or irish; but, by God, we ought to love the principles by which we can stand together and give our lives for one another! That’s what sets us apart from every other country in the history of the world!

President Calvin Coolidge observed:

It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning cannot be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people.

As Obama’s experiment in audacity has taught us, we don’t need “fundamental transformation” of the USA, but each generation of American citizen needs to be fundamentally transformed in character and strive to live up to these ideals by the grace available as we trust in God! If we do that, we will continue to make real progress toward overcoming our present problems and correcting the flaws of our past.

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