rhetoric and realness

Are you all as sick of the current  election rhetoric and lack of civility as I am?  The older I get the sadder I become about the election process and what it does to people.  In both political parties the people behind the scenes running the campaigns sink to such depths and distortion.  The personal attacks on one another are beneath the dignity of the office of the  President of the United States.  Such win at all costs strategy regardless of the distortion they want us to believe  does not bode well for the country or for the world when every four years the worst of human nature in the hellbent pursuit of power is fully on display.  The only good thing is that in many other countries it is far worse; where people are actually killed for standing in the way of the corruption and the striving for the retention or thirst for power (and the wealth that always accompanies it!).

The current political climate and scene unfolding in the halls of power of the USA, and the people smearing each other  presents such a contrast to the experience of when you travel to Ghana and Haiti and meet the people there.   In the rural parts of Haiti and Ghana you meet the economically powerless, but they somehow paradoxically display this incredible and genuine power in their humility, poverty and genuine love.  It is like the wisdom conveyed in the timeless story of the Velveteen Rabbit who feeling forsaken seeks a definition for what it mans to be “real”.  “Real” was defined in terms of not being a fancy shiny toy,  or a toy with all the latest gadgets and gizmos. To be  ”Real” was to be loved and a bit roughed up around the edges by being dragged around by life’s inequities and damaged a bit by life’s tragedies and events.  Life takes it’s toll and along the way we all feel a bit forgotten and forsaken; unloved and broken.  It is little wonder then why the people in Haiti and Ghana capture your heart and gain your admiration, often modeling what it means to be “real”.  They have nothing; but they share everything.  They do not know where their future lies; but they live in the present with more dignity than we who have so much more.  In having less, ironically they have more.  They smile and laugh because inner joy can not be purchased or found in “getting ahead”.    The simplicity of life that Haiti and Ghana models and enforces on her people, means those living in the poorest of economic circumstances  have an authenticity that is striking.  There are no “airs”, no “keeping up with the Joneses”, no trying to be something you are not.  Life is about daily survival not where the next frill will come from.

I will survive the current foolishness and political gluttony.  It is not very pretty to see the lack of respect the politicians have for each other.  It teaches Americans that winning is really what matters.  It is like the old adage we all have heard but should detest “the one who dies with the most toys wins”.  That is really bad theology, but it is hard to escape its influcence  where I live.  I remember my Rector’s bumper sticker that still makes me grateful to God for this privilege of working with the iF Foundation.  It said:  “Live simply that others may simply live”.  Good advice for us all. 

Fr. Byrum

One Response to “rhetoric and realness”

  1. michael Iovino October 12, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    Beautifully said. I have passed your message to my children as well as my friends. makes me take a step back in my own thinking to give more to those that really need it and appreciate it, but not expect it.

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