This past Wednesday, I wore a black ball cap that has NYPD embroidered in large white letters on its front. In smaller white letters, 9-11-01 is embroidered on its back. I bought the cap during the week following that 9/11 at a Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa memorial service. I’ve made it a point to wear it on every 9/11 since then. I guess it’s sort of my Ebenezer to raise, to honor those who lost their lives on that tragic day in American history. I’m pleased to observe that it seems I’m not yet alone in paying this sort of tribute. However, I’m sorry to say it seems that we’ve all but lost a very important gain we realized through our great loss. It was rediscovering the strength of our being One Nation, Under God. Sadly and maybe even more tragically than 9/11 itself,we have failed to cling to and nurture what we gained on9-12-01.
For me, the apparent prospects for gain were symbolized by seeing President (R) Bush and Senator (D) Daschle hug, as the President arrived to address a joint session of Congress, shortly after the 9/11 tragedy. However, in an article entitled The President Bush/Senator Daschle Hug – 7 Years Later, I lamented that our nation was letting that prospective gain slip through its fingers. Instead, for the most part, we’ve returned to the course that political polar-opposites, Bob Beckel and Cal Thomas warned us against in their co-authored book, Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America. That book explores the people and groups that the authors believe have artificially deepened the divide between liberals and conservatives in America. In the book’s Introduction, they say, “We intend to put polarization on trial. We will introduce an abundance of evidence detailing the damage polarization has inflicted on politics, and why this insidious culture continues to operate to the benefit of the few and to the detriment of the many.“
I believe, through the trial of daily life in America, it has become abundantly evident that Beckel and Thomas are right and discouragingly, they’re getting righter every day. Ironically, the political polar-opposite authors use a quote from a Liberal Democrat of a generation ago, that makes him sound like the political polar-opposite of today’s Liberal Democrat, to sum up a challenge to “set a higher tone, which might be heard again if enough people demand it.” That quote and that challenge came from President John F. Kennedy, when he said:
“Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.“
Although we have clearly returned to the course that Beckel and Thomas define as “an insidious culture of polarization”, I’ve continued to see occasional glimmers of hope. I wrote about one of these in an article entitled Let’s Sit Together! That piece dealt with the suggestion put forward by Colorado’s U.S. Senator (D) Mark Udall that, for the 2011 State of the Union speech, Democrats and Republicans sit together rather than dividing up by party. More currently, I found a hint of promise embedded in the marvelous story of the miracle baby born to Member of Congress Jaime Herrera Beutler and her Husband Dan. Jaime reports that colleagues from both sides of the aisle had come to her to express their excitement about her pregnancy and when they learned their unborn baby had been diagnosed with the deadly condition known as Potter’s Syndrome, those same colleagues came to her to encourage her and pray with her. For more complete details on this, do yourself a favor and check out the following video:
For quite some time, I’ve imagined an idealized blog I think of as We The Purple … sort of my American Dream … where posts are more aimed at building on the common ground between the Reds and the Blues. By its very nature, though, a blog of that sort might mostly focus on politics. So, I eventually launched this blog site, Here I Raise My Ebenezer, hoping that it would have a broader impact. With that said, it strikes me that the We The Purple theme can be applied to issues beyond politics that are impacting America today. In my view, it was America‘s One Nation strength that made it great in the first place. That came from the synergy of the best of our differing ideas, a classic example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Presently, regardless of the forum, it’s Democrat against Republican, Left against Right and Pro versus Con on: abortion, energy, environment, immigration, foreign affairs, taxes and pretty much any issue you can think of. How does that make us better? I don’t think that’s what led to our success, as a nation, in the first place. At the outset we pitted ourselves against Britain to gain our independence but we didn’t do it just one person’s way. I seem to recall that we drew on the best of the differing ideas of those we now honor as our Patriots … John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, George Washington, etc. These were all very different guys. Where would we be if all they did was pit themselves against each other, based on their differences? … In a place where there is only a Union Jack and no Old Glory, that’s where! … So, why is it that’s all we do today? What we need is courageous leadership, having a vision aligned with the beliefs of the majority and with the common sense to embrace the superior ideas of others, even if the others have opposing convictions. With that in mind, it is our plan to add a We The Purple page to Here I Raise My Ebenezer, in order to feature such courageous examples and through that, to encourage more to adopt this edifying approach. Of course, we will be reporting stories like these that catch our attention and we’re hoping you, our Readers, will add to that by sending us details on similar stories you come across in your daily life.