Ladies and gentlemen, I want to talk with you tonight, because as the song says, “Let us not talk falsely now, because the hour is getting late.”
Can we turn the lights down please? I would rather that those who are watching have more reason to concentrate on my words, rather than the size of my pores which are being illuminated with the light of multiple suns. Ahh, thank you.
*walks to the front of the stage, sits down on the edge with legs dangling off the side*
By now, I’m sure that you have all come to understand that an organization that calls itself “Islamic State” has declared war on the West, which includes US. I know that there are no shortage of voices who will trip over each other in their hurry to tell you that IS represents an “extreme” or “militant” version of Islam, and still others who are just as eager to tell you that they don’t represent Islam at all. Frankly, I’m going to leave it up to each one of you to make your own determination as to whether any of these voices are correct. I’ve done my research. I’ve noted certain patterns, and methods of operation. But you, each of you, deserves the right and luxury of being able to make your own investigations, and draw your own conclusions, without the constant drumbeat of people who either don’t trust you to come to the correct conclusions, or cannot fathom of conclusions differing from their own without condemning them as some form of “-ism”, “bigotry”, or other object of “offense”, not worthy of consideration, and totally devoid of merit.
Tonight, and in the coming days of this election, you will hear candidates of all leanings, from both of the major parties who will tell you that if you will only elect them, they “will keep the Homeland safe.”
This is a lie.
The fact is that they can’t “keep us safe”. The reason is two-fold.
First, too many of our nation’s resources have their gaze, and their suspicion fixed on American citizens, as part of an institutional culture that routinely rejects the sovereignty of individual Americans and regards the exercise of their sovereign rights as threats to the state…a state which is being morphed into an end of its own, rather than an expression of an ideal set forth in the Declaration of Independence. This is why you will increasingly refer to “the Homeland”, rather than “America”, despite the fact that Americans need no “reminder”, subtle, or otherwise, that America is our home. At the same time, we have trained those who are supposed to be looking out for our nation that we cannot possibly act in a prudent fashion to secure ourselves from external threats, or keep from transforming these external threats into internal ones.
Secondly, we face a foe which loves death more than they love life. They are ruthless. They are determined. And they are patient. This means that even if all of the government’s considerable resources were trained in the right direction, the odds are still against us, and successful attacks will succeed.
If we are to rely on only our own agency to combat this, then the only path to victory is a terrible resolve, to either make the death they love so horrifying, so terrible, that they will chose life in the alternative, or to fight this evil to every last man, woman, and yes, child, because they have enlisted even their own children in this conflict.
We are in a moment of decision, when we need to have clarity in our deliberation, and the wisdom to understand that leaders take responsibility not only for the successes of their subordinates, but for their failures as well. While it is apparent to me that this should disqualify many of the candidates running for office, I understand the temptation to want to believe that a specific candidate who talks tough can be a savior. The best leaders lead by example, and first, we need to actually elect a leader who believes in the American people, and who can remind them of their own genius, and their goodness, and inspire them to live them, rather than deferring to a government that is poorly equipped to assume a moral responsibility that runs contrary to too many of its own purposes. For too long, we have compromised with evil, and clothed it in the mundane as we have made it part and parcel of our daily life. This will lead some among us to believe that compromise is a laudatory and worthy goal, and will seek to make it happen. The best outcome we can hope for with this is a temporary peace, and an arrogant complacency which will make us subject to an eventual defeat.
The election season is one that demands, and receives, a degree of suspension of disbelief that would be unthinkable in any other aspect of our lives. We would never accept the brazen lies told to us by politicians from friends, co-workers, lovers, or family, and yet we expect it, hell, we want it from people who have continually demonstrated that they are utterly unworthy of our trust, which we freely give every time, like Charlie Brown expecting Lucy to not pull away the football.
We don’t need the puffery, the exaggerations, and the flat-out lies.
We don’t need someone who doesn’t like us to wag his finger and tell us who we are and who we aren’t, when he’s only interested in who he wants us to be. We know who we are. And we need a leader who is one of us, not someone who has contempt for who we are, and who cynically seeks to exploit us because that is who they are. We just have to decide if we are going to chose a leader who represents our qualities, and if we want to win the conflict that is being brought to us, or if we will be “fundamentally transformed”, and chose to be the last ones eaten by the alligator.
*fade to black*