There is a call upon us today. It comes from the forces of good within us and from outside us in the universe. You can say it’s God if you want to. Or you can say it is a force inside our human spirit, the stuff we were made of at our creation, which all the sacred texts of every religion say was, at our origin, good.
It is a call to basic decency, to common sense, to getting our heads out of the muck and breathing some fresh air and getting in touch with our goodness again.
We are stuck in the dirt, stuck down to our souls, filthy inside and out, stained with our own fears and prejudices and anger and hate. We have given in to our meanness and it has made us a nation of moral pygmies. Our wrath, our fuming oaths, our senseless petty fury—all of that is mountainous, a huge growing thing within us and it has left us with pint-sized virtues that are being more and more diminished by the day.
We are greedy and tacky and mean, nasty and spiteful and raging against each other, touchy and easily offended, silly and infantile in our actions and attitudes. And it has left us flippant and superficial and volatile.
And we feed all of this stuff in us daily and eventually the craziness comes out and if there are no limits to the foolishness of this dark mood in the country if it is all perfectly acceptable and cheered on by the dumb and the irrational and the heartless then we of course should not be shocked when people pick up weapons and shoot and maim and kill.
As one of Shakespeare’s characters says, “These violent delights have violent ends.”
We all make choices in life and sometimes our choices make us. And right now way too many of us have made the choice to enter into this small-mindedness that grips our nation, this angry offensive beastliness that keeps us buried in some kind of crude bloodthirsty savagery. Nearly everyone from our highest leaders—our presidential candidates, our religious leaders, bishops and Cardinals, evangelical big shots and self appointed moralists—have all stooped to live in the mud and bury themselves in this awfulness.
There is a call upon us today. This call, this cry, is deep within all of us and it is so vital to our survival. It is a call to stand up out of the dirt we are in and be more than we are now; to be human and decent and appropriate and respectful. It asks us to live in the places of ourselves that we know are right and healthy, peaceful and earnest, compassionate and loving.
It is calling us to get up out of this mire of selfishness and chintzy sleazy inhumanness and be our better selves, be the good Americans we know how to be, be caring and open-hearted and generous with one another.
It is a call filled with the innocence of children, a call covered in kindness, a call that appeals to our heart and soul, to the real substance of our humanity. It is saying: Stand up; be better; be a good American again.
I hear it. It is deep within me and I want to say yes to it.
© 2012 Timothy Moody