Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I'm aware that my posting thus far this week has been lackluster at best. But rest assured, I am staying home from work tomorrow, and posting should be fairly constant throughout the day.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Monday, June 07, 2004 - U.N. envoy: Iraq will need help for some time: "Iraq's incoming government is 'generally found acceptable by the Iraqi people,' but it will need the world's assistance for some time to come, U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told the Security Council Monday."

I met with Congressman Chris Shays tonight, at the Fairfield Republican Town Committee meeting. He had an interesting point to make, based on a conversation he had with Condi Rice three days ago.

Basically, he pointed out that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. After we won the Revolutionary War, we had the Articles of Confederation, which collapsed and almost led to the downfall of the fledgling country. in 1789 (13 years after the DofI for those who can't do the math), the Constitution was written. It took over a decade to create a government that could last. And from Condi, here's the kicker: at that point, after 13 years, when a strong government was finally designed, the woman who is now the National Security Adviser to the leader of the most powerful country in the world, could at best be considered to count as 3/5ths of a person.

My point is, any democracy in Iraq will take time. There will be compromises necessary. And a truly sustaining democratic government with full equality will take even more time, possibly even centuries. We're in for the long haul, and we need to be patient. But they can, and will take control of their own fate, and they will change the world.

My Sermon
Sixty years ago today men and boys from widely varying backgrounds, from countries around the world, from different faiths came together for vastly different reasons to put their lives on the line. They climbed cliffs, ran up beaches, and dropped from the sky, directly into unending machine gun fire. They entered gauntlets of almost certain death so that other men they had never met might gain their freedom.

Yesterday this country lost one of its greatest leaders. He was a man who stood upon the Berlin Wall, the symbol of decades of tyranny, and told the perpetrators of that tyranny to tear it down. He stared down a government who took too much from its own people and forced it to make do with a little less. He stood up for those who could not stand up for themselves.

This is a great weekend in American history because of what it represents, and what it reminds us. We are currently engaged in a worldwide struggle for our way of life, to defend our freedom from those who would exchange it for tyranny over us, who would have us live our lives the way they say instead of the way we choose. And we are involved in a more explicit battle in that greater struggle where we have already toppled the tyrants and we are now trying to hand the people left behind the reigns of their government.

What we need to recognize is that these three are inextricably linked. On D-Day we set people free. When the Berlin Wall came down we set people free. And in Iraq right now, we are setting people free. But why are we doing this?

I can't answer that question. Pure and simple, I cannot speak for the millions of Americans who were and are involved in each of these great efforts. But let me speak for some of them.

Presidents Reagan and Bush are very different men, but at their core, they are operating from a very basic set of beliefs -- those laid out in the Bible, those followed by Christians around the world. Bush has said several times that he believes liberty is the gift of God to all people and it is our responsibility to make sure it is available to each of them. Reagan believed that human beings are generally good, and all have some inner demons that struggle to overwhelm the good. He also believed that government was the greatest threat to humanity that exists in our age, and that it serves to strengthen the demons, while destroying the good -- the bigger the government, the less good can thrive. And this belief, this faith in humanity that flowed so strongly through this great man, was based on his faith in God. Both of these men represent the best vision for humanity, and it can only come through our expression of God's will.

That great event on June 6, 1944 occurred exactly because of these feelings. We let it get too far, but when it reached that point we snapped too and got done what needed to get done. We stood up, and did the hard duty that God demanded of us. Again and again throughout American, and Christian, history, wrong decisions have been made in the name of each. But those acts have been overshadowed by the great corrections that inevitably follow.

We would do well to remember throughout this week of mourning, and this week following the anniversary of that great day, that we can never bow down to tyranny, that it is our duty to fight it at every turn. President Reagan once said, "Freedom is not something to be secured in any one moment of time. We must struggle to preserve it every day. And freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." It is God's will that we remember this. And that we act on it.

I’ll close with another famous Reagan quote, one he used to end every speech and every letter he wrote: God bless you.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

What I wish they could provide
So I went to church today (quick reminder: today is the 60th anniversary of D-Day, and the day after the death of President Reagan), in need of a sermon. There are some terrible things going on in the world, and it is the anniversary of the beginning of the defeat of one of the worst in history, and the day after the death of a man who contributed distinctly to the defeat of another. I needed my priest to comfort me, to remind me that there are still good people in the world, and to... I don't know, I just needed him to talk to me, to let me know that the world is and will be ok. I needed to hear something about the great conflict with evil we now face.

But you see, there were two problems with that: 1)My brother and I established at Christmas that our priest does not believe there is evil in the world, and B)(sic) Today was what my church calls the monthy "youth and family Sunday," which means that instead of a real sermon, they give a stupid little "let's talk down to the little kids" sermon. So, I've decided to take a stab at writing my own. Tonight I will write, tomorrow touch up, and tomorrow night post "The Sermon I Wish I'd Heard." It will likely not touch on the appropriate scripture for today, and focus more on the events in the world. But hopefully you'll enjoy it.

So check back, and let me know what you think.

A sad day for all
Ronald Wilson Reagan is no longer with us, and we are the worse for it. I will try to post some more extensive thoughts on this later, but suffice it to say that he was a terrific leader and visionary, and I, for one, will miss knowing that he exists. It has always been a comfort to me, and I am saddened to have lost him.

But remember the good
It is also the 60th anniversary of D-Day. 60 years ago, this country rose up and said "No more," to one of the most evil forces ever to cross the Earth's surface. Today we face just such a threat again. Let us have more Normandys and fewer Munichs. Likewise, I hope to post more on this later today.