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Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

Of the coming of the Lord.

The opening of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Hopeful… yet very grim as well.  The song is much less rambling than I’m likely to be in this post.  That being said, our country has a long road ahead of it.  The future is not my provenance.  Only the present.  The future is in other hands than my own.  Yet parts of it are in my own hands.  That is what we often forget in times like this.  America, for all the rest of the world likes to claim we’re not so special, is different.  While Euro-think is rather fashionable at the moment with its emphasis on collectivism and its utter terror of nationalism, America is still different.  We are a nation of doers.  By and large we don’t sit around and wait for someone to come in and fix our problems for us.  We take a stab at fixing the plumbing ourselves and don’t wait for the plumber to turn off the water at the source.  It is not in us, by and large, to just stand by and let things go.

Today is an election day.  I’ve heard many people talking about running for other countries should ours go sour… but remember America is different.  I’ve been to many other countries, and there are fundamental differences that are hard to see when you’re not looking for them often because the American way seems mutually contradictory.  We are an ungovernable rabble that believes in the rule of law.  How does that work and what does that mean?

As a culture we still believe, though there are those (those Europhiles and many other so called elites) trying to kill this, that there is right and there is wrong.  That right and wrong don’t change just because society changes.  It’s how people can come to a full and complete stop at 3am at a stoplight in the middle of no where, and, at the same time, scoff at things like prohibition.  If we go out as a nation it will be in a way not seen before.  And America will survive.  I’m not sure how long it will take to rebuild her to what she should be, but we’ve been there before… and never gotten to ‘should.’   That’s why we keep striving.  One foot in front of another.

We are not a nation that bends well to orders from on high.  We are not a nation that stands back and lets other do for us.  We may let others take care of their own problems, but that’s bitten us badly more than once.  I don’t see us falling back into complete isolationism.  We are a nation of oaths and Ideals not of blood and bone.  We are one of the few nations in the world where identity is not tied to blood descent, though our lovely ‘elites’ are trying to change that as well.  American is American.  You can look like anything but how do you act, and do you support the nation?  Our founding principles are radically different from the rest of the world:  We believe that all men are created equally and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.

Sam Colt and John Moses Browning gave us the means to enforce that equality, even against the government.  That’s something else different about America.   We stand up for ourselves, but we suck at jackboots.  No, seriously.  We gave Germany back to the Germans.  We gave Kuwait back to the Kuwaitis.  We gave South Korea back to itself, the list goes on.  Our elites have forgotten this.  The American people want to live and let live.  Our elites have been trying to divide us.  How long that damage will take to heal, only God himself knows.   There is likely gunfire and smoke in our future, but we will fight first with words.  I pray daily that there is some other, better way through this darkness, but the future is not my provenance.  Part of me is grateful for that.  I have had some brief glimpses of the future in the past, but never has it been pleasant.

I don’t normally go into some of the stranger experiences I have had in my life, but I have seen the other half of this war.  It is not a struggle just of flesh and blood, but, to wax biblical, of principalities and powers.  Note, especially for those of you not of a religious bent:  Principalities and Powers do not refer to nations, but other powers that cannot be placed in boxes and painted green nor can their composition be measured by a mass spectrometer.  This is a war of the spirit.  I will save the spiritual details for some other post, suffice to say, I have seen these battle lines.  The “Watchfires of a hundred circling camps” are not just physical fires.  We are in for a rocky ride.  The immediate end I cannot say.  In the long term I have hope.  And I have sympathy for those who cannot have such hope

The part that really got me thinking today was this verse:

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea

With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me,

As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.

His truth is marching on.

Let us die to make men free has an alternative wording that goes back quite a ways:  Let us LIVE to make men free.  Usually I prefer the origional, but looking at this election, I have been thinking that perhaps the living, this time, will be making the greater sacrifices.  A life can only be laid down once, and unless things turn out very differently than they seem to be heading, I think it likely some will be asked to die to make men free… but others will be asked to live.   To NOT die with them, not because we are unwilling, but because someone must rebuild.  Our elites won’t.  They have shown only the capacity to destroy.

And that is the transfiguring:  We build.  We strive towards a perfection we know we cannot achieve and unlike a certain religion that people love comparing to Christianity, we don’t expect paradise here on earth.  We don’t behead the infidel.  We fight when we must, because evil cannot go unchecked, but we build.  Because we are called to build.  And we are called to build things of the spirit.  These things lead to how we act in the world, and how the world winds up.  It is to us, those who survive the coming storm, to rebuild.  We have a duty, to stand against evil, but also to nurture the good and not become the evil ourselves nor flee and hope someone else will come to save us on this world.   I’m not too big on the notion of one person being the hope or doom of a nation.  America is an Ideal.  It is the people who take up her banner.  That is much harder to kill than any one person or any one organization.  We have walked this darkness before and we are still here.  We can walk this darkness again.  Light a candle.  Be the hope.  One foot in front of the other.  Encourage each other.  Take encouragement.  Raise your candle against the night.  The Dawn will come.  Teach your children well, for as Dawn follows night, there will be other dark times, and they will need to be ready even as we do.

This is rough, but I think it’s appropriate:

Look to the sky
Look to the stars
They can’t take us over
They can’t take what’s ours.

The work of our hands,
We can always redo.
The things in our minds
We pass down to you.

The will to the striving
They never will break.
The hope in our labors
They never can take.

The fire that burns
In every free soul
Is something they never
Can see nor control.

They think in our spirits
We are like them,
Yet we know the truth:
We are still men.

No machine to dance
To a street grinder’s tune.
No dog to lie lazy,
Then howl at the moon.

We look to the sky
And reach to the stars,
And they can’t understand
What makes the sky ours.

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