We the People…

Gary, Davis, Charleston, America, IndividualismThe Charleston murders last night are reflective of an America that has fallen deeply into the abyss of the rights of the individual to shape the core beliefs & common respect due us all. “We the people…, in order to form a more perfect union.” Has degenerated into “I will assert my rights, my values, my individual dominance, and my anger against anyone I chose…, screw you.”

 Following World War II (1945) America was so tired of war we simply withdrew from Korea and allowed the country to divide. (1952) We know how well that worked out. Through our war in Vietnam (‘60s-70s) we grew weary and skeptical that any war was worth entering. Then came the Gulf War followed by the War in Iraq, and finally our world-wide war against Terrorists and ISIS. According to my son-in-law, a military strategist, that is a Stage 1 war that can never be won, and will never be over.

The effect of this history has been that American individualism has focused on our own individual rights and a return to isolationism. We don’t want to get involved.

 It took almost 100 years following our Civil War for African Americans to be recognized as decent human beings. Our LGBTQ Americans fared much better in a mere 40 year struggle to gain national recognition.

 Why should we be surprised that a white supremacist attends a Wednesday Bible Study and murders nine African-Americans!?! His goal? “To reignite the race wars.” American individualism has supplanted any core value with the values of whatever fringe activist group seeks to assert over the common good. This is wrong on any moral, civil, and human decency level you can find throughout history.

 Which groups will face eradication next? My guess is any semblance of the Judean-Christian religious tradition. Religious types are a threat because they believe in an external reference point on which all human dignity and morality is based. They threaten those fringe philosophies that challenge the common core’s right to exist. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, are a threat to our nation and must be kept in check. There is no common decency, there is no moral code, there is no respect for “WE the people.. .”. There is only I.

 Thus, the murders in Charleston last night.

 And yes, I am mad that we have come to this.

 Dr. Gary Davis

Lives Cut Short


Wars take a terrible toll on countries, peoples, families, and individuals. Too many young men & women sacrifice their lives for what they believe to be the right way, the way of their country and/or their God. No matter the winner of the conflict, the cost to both sides is immeasurable.

Presently, our planet finds itself in the midst of another world war; not of nation pitted abainst nation, but of beliefs pitted against beliefs, with small cells of extremists attacking established systems of governence. Lives will be lost, thousands of them, on both sides, as this war rages on. It is the kind of war that will go on for decades, leaving the victors in exhausted glory.

However, there is another kind of war that cuts short the lives of men. It is the war of identity-theft. Far too frequently we tie our identity to some acceptance matrix; to a job, to a discretionary activity (sports, parenting, music), to a particular relationship, in ownership of property (wealth, houses, cars). We define ourselves in terms of other things—a position, athleticism, intelligence, motherhood, performance, wealth, even other people.

Then something happens to rob us of the identity we tied to our job, family, friends, athletic ability, etc. It may be as minor as a broken ankle, as devastating as a divorce, or as simple as aging. And our world collapses. Whatever it was that gave us our identity is no longer there. We are at float in a sea lacking any clearly identifiable directions. Your life, as you knew it, has been cut short.

For some of us, that is it: that’s all she wrote. It’s over. Whatever comes next looms as insignificant compared to what we have just lost. How can there be any kind of future for me?!?

Some things to ponder—

  1. Consider that the original foundation for your identity may have been established on an inappropriate underpinning, be that people, place, property, wealth, or ability. Placing your self-definers in stuff, or people, is never a good idea. It all burns up in the end anyway. [FYI- I’ve grounded my identity in the God of the universe. So far, this has proven a very safe connection.]
  2. Your present “tragedy” could be just the incentive you need to re-examine your identity baseline. Don’t forgo the opportunity.
  3. Don’t stop living. Force yourself to dream about what could be next. On a personal note, there was a period in my life when I believed I had developed failure to an art-form. But I learned a lot how NOT to mess-up again.
  4. Be on the lookout for God’s little surprises. He has a way of dropping new friends into your life, of healing broken bodies, and of healing hurting hearts with new love.
  5. Try to rest. Take walks. Think out loud. Don’t give up! If you’re still breathing your life is NOT cut short yet.

Have a nice week,

Gary

collateral damage

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, refugee, war, damage, collateralOne of the givens of war is collateral damagethe incidental destruction of property and human life not intended as part of a tactical military maneuver; also known as- the casualties of war. Each side in the conflict will report and dramatize the extent of collateral damage inflicted by the other side as if the intended targets were indeed the innocents. The propaganda and misinformation war waged alongside of the military conflict will always seek to claim moral justification for its retaliation by producing the most graphic images. The truth is
that too many innocent people are used as military shields, as propaganda tools, and, sadly, as actual targets. IF they have any military value whatsoever, they are expendable. Casualties of war.

Similarly, some of us have no idea of the collateral damage we leave in our wake. Some, to be sure, are glibly blind to the havoc they cause. They are simply stupid people who need to be confronted with their stupidity. It is those who have no issue with littering casualties along the way as long as they can achieve their personal goals that are at issue here. Why is it that some of us believe we have the right to use others, to step on them to climb one more rung up the ladder, to wound them deeply, and then to dispose of them as little more than rotting rubbish!?! And then they continue their climb up the ladder, suffering no moral or ethical pangs in what they have done.

Common decency and courtesy would seem to dictate that a simple apology containing some degree of civil or humane restitution would be in order. Yet if it remains with the abuser to put forth the contrition, to take the lower place, you may well have to provide your own snowballs in hell. Thus, just or not, it will most probably fall to you to take the lower place, and accordingly to rise to the level of bringing some reconciliation to the situation— even though you remain the collaterally damaged and discarded one   . Ever heard this adage?

If you place yourself on top, there’s only one direction you can go.

If you place yourself on the bottom, there’s only one direction you can go.

            Never, ever be the one who inflicts collateral damage on others!

 

Have a nice week,

Gary