Friday, January 14, 2005

Promises, Prayers, and "The Dog in the Manger"

There was a time when the soldiers of Rome would gather to swear allegiance to a new emperor; investing in him, by the strength of their swords, the power proffered by the Senate and the people. Next Thursday, 20, January, 2005 the "most powerful man in the world" will swear his obedience and devotion to the Law. George W. Bush will take an oath in the name of God to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The Inauguration of a President is not a celebration of election victory; not a glamorous gloat. It is a sacred ordinance whereby WE THE PEOPLE are promised the rights endowed upon us by the Creator.

I find it telling that the days leading up to the Inaugural ceremony are filled with court battles over prayer. Mobs of malcontents are amassing to practice their right to make fools of themselves by pouting and ranting against the will of the majority and the Constitution. They claim the "constitutional" right to pout before the world, but they, with shrill protestation and frivolous suits, attempt to muzzle the prayers of their countrymen and debase the celebration of the supremacy of Law. Their lawlessness and lies will pollute the airwaves and foul the highest mass of our nationhood. With thoughtless demonstrations of discontent they will attempt to drown out the rights of others in an obscene misexercise of their own. Theirs is the same chop logic that condemns the burning of a cross as hate speech but justifies the burning of a flag as free speech.

Aesop tells the fable of the "Dog in the Manger." The dog, shirking his duties, finds a comfortable bed and sleeps the day away curled up on the soft hay of the ox’s manger. As darkness falls the weary ox returns from his day long labor at the plow looking forward to his supper. But when the ox approaches his rightful feast, the dog snarls and snaps driving the poor beast away. The snapping dog will neither eat the hay nor allow the hungry ox to do so. Curled up on the cozy nest of their Constitutional rights the snarling dogs of the left neither support the Constitution nor allow others to partake of their rights therein.

A majority of Americans support President Bush. He was elected by a clear majority and chosen according to the dictates of the Constitution. Those who hate President Bush have no real love of the Constitution. They are not interested in justice; only in their own desires. They let the Law labor for them when it serves their need but disdain it when it inconveniences their agenda. Like terrorists everywhere, the sore losers of the 2004 election are snapping and snarling like angry dogs. Having lost their legitimacy, they must usurp attention by violence and intimidation. On the day when all mankind should celebrate the sacred miracle of government of, for, and by the people; their whining and barking will disrupt the peace. These unworthy acts will show the "protesters" for what they are. Their barking and whining will not dim the wonder for those who are wise enough to ignore the dog sounds and listen to the prayers and sacred oaths of a noble, just, and honorable servant of the people.

15 comments:

Dan Simpson said...

I am a fan of the West Wing, not because I agree with the polotics, but because I like the writing. Anyway, last week had a great episode. There was a big fight about gay marriage, and it spilled over into religious ideas as a whole. The President, at the end of the show, was arguing with a religous senator in the oval office about where the federal government should stand on moral issues. The Republican senator was making similar points to the ones Lysis just made, and the President in a superior tone told the senator (while raising his right hand) that he had sworn to uphold the constitution, and therefore he wouldn't take a stance on these religious matters. The senator then pointed out, "You didn't raise your right hand." It was a very poigniant comment, because the president when he is sworn in places his right hand on the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Lysis said. . .
"Mobs of malcontents are amassing to practice their right to make fools of themselves by pouting and ranting against the will of the majority and the constitution. They claim the "constitutional" right to pout before the world, but they, with shrill protestation and frivolous suits,. . . attempt to muzzle and debase the supremacy of law. Their lawlessness and lies will pollute the airwaves and foul the highest mass of our nationhood. With thoughtless demonstrations of discontent they will attempt to drown out the rights of others in an obscene (and sometimes even murderous) misexercise of their own." (my parenthetical additiion)

Response:
All this seems a more apt description of anti-abortion protestors. I've never seen anti-prayer protestors.

Lysis said. . .
"There was a time when the soldiers of Rome would gather to swear allegiance to a new emperor; investing in him, by the strength of their swords, the power proffered by the Senate and the people. . . . These unworthy acts will show the "protesters" for what they are. Their barking and whining will not dim the wonder for those who are wise enough to ignore the dog sounds and listen to the prayers and sacred oaths of a noble, just, and honorable servant of the people."

Response
In March 1934, Hitler terrorized the Reichstag into accepting the Enabling Act which guaranteed him absolute power for the next four years. In August, the bed-ridden President von Hindenburg died. That same afternoon, Germany crossed the Rubicon: the armed forces of the Reich were forced to swear a sacred Oath of ALLEGIANCE to the person of Adolf Hitler as Fuehrer of the Reich. No longer allegiance to the flag, or to the Republic, but to one man: "I SWEAR BY GOD THIS HOLY OATH, that I will render to Adolf Hitler, Fuehrer of the German Reich, Supreme commander of the Armed Forces, unconditional obedience and that I am ready, as a brave soldier, to risk my life at any time for this oath."
Observations:
* Protest is better than obedience.
* Prayer and "Swearing a holy oath" do not make the oath holy, nor for that matter the swearer.
* "Sore losers" is just another name for the "loyal opposition". The American way is founded in the crucible of disagreement, protest and dissension -- the American way is to "Make Forum". A process that Mr. Lysis does not seem a bit comfortable with.
*

A_Shadow said...

There are a lot of telling comments in your rebuttle there, Anonymous. Let's look at a few of them, shall we?

Anonymous: "All this seems a more apt description of anti-abortion protestors. I've never seen anti-prayer protestors."

+ Response: It would seem to me that not all things need be so blatantly prepared and revealed that ONLY banner wavers need be protesters. How many protested Brittain's injustice and racism in India by sitting imobile? How many have used the tactics of boycott to try and protest the unjust, unrighteous, causes they felt need be changed? How many anti-religion people, who tremble at the utterance of "One nation under God" fight their wars in the courtrooms? That counts as much as to the symbolism in his meaning as anything, and we both know of the thousands of protestors at today's inaguration, and what of those protesting the war? I don't think putting up examples for him is a very good thing. Often when you try to put forth someone elses bias you show yourself to be what you think you are fighting against. Those are just a few examples you might look at for protesters. I would imagine that the American Revolution was a large protest as well, hopefully not one we would need repeat (speaking in terms of bloodshed).

Anonymous: "* Protest is better than obedience.
* Prayer and "Swearing a holy oath" do not make the oath holy, nor for that matter the swearer.
* "Sore losers" is just another name for the "loyal opposition". The American way is founded in the crucible of disagreement, protest and dissension -- the American way is to "Make Forum". A process that Mr. Lysis does not seem a bit comfortable with."

+ Response: I think that there could be examples of protest being "better" than obediance, but it's often incorrect to apply blanket terms so liberally. Protest of something injust can be understood, for those unwilling to take action personally. But to protest something like the liberation of a country, or the feeding of those that are starved...? It seems that often protesters wish to only be heard, and they are content to scream about anything that suits them and is contrary to something else. I watched a brief interview with a lady that was proud to protest the inaguration. Making it plain that the point that they were there was to attract the media's attention. Not ever making it a point to disclose her cause at such a pointed time...

Indeed you are right about the "holy oath", but isn't that a tragedy of modern times? It used to be that a man could be relied upon for his word. That if he told you he would do, or wouldn't do, something that he was expected to stay with that. I still believe in the word of honor, whether or not the rest of the race is with me. It can be argued that saying something doesn't mean anything that "actions speak louder than words" and "talk is cheap", but I find a distinct satisfaction in the look of gratitude someone gives me when I keep to my words of honor. I suppose that depends on how much credibility you would give the truth, now wouldn't it? And being in an absolutist forum, we all know what level the truth should hold to us.

I think that, Anonymous, you misunderstand some key things about your argument that disention is needed. For instance, using your example of our government, when an injustice be found, a certain level of opposition need be taken. In opposing theories often the correct answer could be taken to be agreed upon. But not even Democrats fight that Saddam was an evil man. So why is there dissension there? Unnecessary dissension does no one any good. To be a "rebel without a cause" is tiresome and romantic (in the essence of pure emotion), just because the people like fighting for a cause doesn't mean that some need be invented. There's a reason that Bush will serve four more years, and like it or not, that is because the majority of the country believes in what he is doing. To create a needless dissension over half truths and pure fantasy is a needless waste of time, money, and emotional energy. It might even prove in later studies to lower your lifespan...

Anyways, I think I can take off down from the podium now. I believe the bulk of us here don't believe in blind faithfulness, but neither do I believe in needless dissension. Just because you don't believe in God, doesn't give you the right to keep me from pledging my allegiance to him. That can be said for anything, which I believe is at the heart of Lysis post. That he is noticing how much people use their "right to freedom of speech" to try and quell that right in others.

Furthermore, if you are interested (that's any of you reading this), I have taken it upon myself to address some of the issues regarding the funding of the last election and some of the other monetary points that seem to get our Democratic friends hot in the blood. I found a good volume of websites that had SOME information on the funding of the election, and mainly did that when a person that I'm currently living with insisted so adamantly in the corruption of Bush and how much money he has recieved from companies so often in the news. One thing I found most startling was by how much Kerry had more than Bush in personal net worth. The point is that I'm willing to share it if anyone asks, I can't tell you where THEY got it, but I have what they have put worth. I didn't want to needlessly litter Lysis' blog without his permission, but I figured that since I was talking about it anyways...

A_Shadow said...

Lol, looking closer at the comments made, and the one that I did... I miss quoted Anonymous as saying something Lysis did. I thought that it was all one comment. Disbar the second quoting as being Anonymous'. It is really Lysis that I suppose I am rebutting against.

Silver Lining said...

If I may be so bold, protest is sometimes superior to obedience. Anonymous is usually so careful in his/her wording and argumentation that this stuck out to me. I can't believe that any reasonable person would put an always on that statement. Surely it isn't wrong to obey the good. Surely it is superfluous to protest something we do not object to.

I appreciate Anonymous' reflections on disagreement in this nation. We surely do allow for and should allow for disagreement and the sharing of many opinions. I wonder, however, if through the suggestion that protest is better than obedience, that Anonymous suggests that those who do not protest the Bush Administration, who are not in opposition to it, are practicing an unacceptable disagreement with those who do. Are there grounds for disagreement which are not allowed? Do we have to transfer our disagreement with an individual to a personal characterization of that person and his/her intelligence?

Dan Simpson said...

First, the idea that the American way is founded on dissension, and disagreement is so blatantly wrong as to be laughable.

Though disagreement has been an important factor, the real quality that brought the United States into being would have to be compromise. If you study the Constitutional Convention, that is the quality above all others.

Second, even more ludicrous than the first point is the idea that protest is always superior to obedience. I will merely give one example that I would challenge Anonymous to defend. After Brown v. the Board of Education was decided, and the South was commanded to desegregate, many citizens of the south stood in the doorways of Elementary schools, etc., and shouted threats and profanities at small children merely trying to attend school. In what way was this protest superior to obedience to the law?

Lysis said...

It was great to hear from you all. Anonymous, you sure can get things stirred up. A_Shadow, I enjoy reading every thing you write whether you’re picking me up or picking me apart.. Add Silver Lining and DannyBoy and so many things have been said so well.

Still - - - - I will try a few words too. First of all, I agree with Silver Lining both in that
Anonymous has got us thinking about disagreement in the nation, and that there are times when obedience is better than that disagreement. To stir up trouble for the nation because one dislikes a particular politician does seem self defeating - especially if one relies upon that nation to protect one’s right to decent. As Dannyboy points out - protesting justice in unjust! The election of George Bush was just.

Anonymous - If you haven’t heard of anti-prayer protestors you haven’t been listening very
carefully. Someone got prayer thrown out of schools and someone else tried to have them extracted from the Inauguration ceremony today. In Salt Lake some years ago a high school graduation ceremony was prety much trashed by those protesting the prayer - after that we didn’t even have Bacoloret ceremonies at our school any more. Too bad!!! I don’t necessarily disapprove of their protesting any more or less than I do anti-abortion protestors having their say. They all have a right to protest, and I have a right to say what I think of them for doing it, and I have a right to point out why I believe they are wrong. Anonymous, don’t you think that protesting protesters is legitimate protest?

This is what our President swore his oath to defend. I think there was a palpable sense of pride, a twinkle in the eye, of George Bush as he saw the Constitution he defends in action today. I think it brought him some satisfaction to drive past the ant-Bush protesters who had been given a place of honor at his parade.

Anonymous, you are right - saying an oath is holy does not make it so. The Germans swore an oath to a monster - as did many a Roman solider. That was unholy. The difference I was trying to point out is that our President swears an oath to us - we don’t swear obedience to anyone; Bush swore to obey the Law! That’s the beauty of the ceremony, and that’s why the inaugural oath is holy!

As for “sore losers” being “loyal opposition”; that depends on how loyal they are. If their bitterness leads them to give aid and comfort to the enemies of our nation and the murders of our heros, in hopes of hurting the President they despise, they are not loyal, they are treasonous.

As for crucibles of disagreement - that was what our nation, and this weblog, were founded to provide. That is what our President swore to defend. Isn’t that worth celebrating whether you approve of his stand on abortion or not?

A_Shadow said...

The comment about protestors that protest other protestors (say that five times fast...) brings me back to one of my most fond memories from the news. You all should remember the anti-war protests that took place right before our active engagement in Iraq this latest time. It comes from a clash of pro-war (for lack of a better description) and anti-war protestors that met on a street somewhere. The anti-war protestors shouted their mantras such as "no war for oil" and the "pro-war" marchers responded with theirs of "idiots". I just thought it was too funny to pass up proliferating here...

Silver Lining said...

I have been holding this in since I first read Anonymous' post, but after re-reading both it and Lysis' response, I can't help myself. To quote from the Scarlet Pimpernel (the good one with Anthony Andrews and Ian McKellan), "an oath to a scoundrel is meaningless." Just a little bit of fun. ;)

Anonymous said...

Lysis says. . . .
"Someone got prayer thrown out of school". . .
How could that ever be possible? Name one school in the state or the nation where people don't pray? How could anyone ever know who was praying, let alone identify what a prayer was to "throw it out"? If you are a school prayer advocate, please identify the school prayer you would have "thrown back in?" which prayer? Whose prayer?

A Protestor who protests protestors? Or a protestor who protests protesting? Or a disingenuous smoke screen?

The "they and their"(Note how often and how inclusively these indefinite pronouns are used in the above.)
who are "terrorists" can be taken as non other than those who venture an opinion in a way that does not meet with Lysis' approval. -- a "protestor". . . Now he not only wants to protest protestors, but he wants to sanction what protesting protestors may protest!

What could a protestor of protestors be other than an advocate of obedience -- certainly no form of protestor or protesting.
Protest is better than obedience --
No free society can exist or will exist without it.
Obedience is static not dynamic -- it requires assent not thought. It is not "of the dialogue".
Obedience is the province of the propogandist
Please smile and assent.

Lysis said...

WOW!!!! Well done Anonymous! Isn’t it fun to be an absolutist! Protesting = Good.! You, I, and President Bush agree. Let me quot you from The Freedom speech: “. . . yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed.”. Now that we agree, by reason and faith, (the reasoning we have done together and our faith in George Bush), let’s move on and discuss weather or not the things
that protestors protest for or against are good or bad.

Here are some examples of how this works in a world were right and wrong exist:

Protesting (by Martin King) against racial segregation - Segregation wrong, protestors right!

Protesting (by KKK) against having black children attending school - Segregation wrong, protestors wrong!

[Here is a question to consider at this point. Should “wrong protestors” have a right to protest?
They do in the American George Bush has sworn to defend!]

Now try this one:

Protesting (by atheists) against prayer in school - Prayer in school right, protestors wrong!

Protesting (by students who pray anyway) against bans on prayer in school - Bans on prayer wrong - protestors right!

And now . . .

Protesting (by anti-war activists) against the liberation of Iraq - Liberation of Iraq right,
protestors wrong!

Protesting (by Lysis) against those who give aid and comfort to the terrorists oppressing the people of Iraq. - Supporting terrorism in Iraq wrong - protesting terrorist supporters right.

Notice in all the cases above we're not saying protesting is right or wrong, only that the protestors are either right or wrong. Now it becomes obvious that we can judge protestors without condemning protesting. In order to make such judgements we are forced to talk about the rightness or wrongness (the justice) of the causes for which they, or we, are protesting.

So once again, Anonymous; tell us why the war in Iraq is wrong and then we can, if necessary, discuss the merits of those protesting it. Under the post, “Right War, Right Place, Right Time”, I gave some reasons why the War of Liberation in Iraq is right. President Bush in his "Freedom Speech" gave many more. Let’s argue about these things. This is what we must know if we are
to justly support or protest the enormous sacrifice America is now making to keep the fire of freedom burning.

A_Shadow said...

I think that Lysis handled that superbly, but I just want to come out and say, plain as day, what I feel he was getting at. Protestors aren't wrong, but the ideas and things that they advocate or fight against can be. Protestors set forth an opinion, that's their God given right, but that doesn't mean that what they are advocating is the right thing.

Basically when I was talking about protesting protestors I was using it in the sense that they were synonomous with their cause. But more correctly, should I need to spell it out, the "pro-war" protestors were protesting the message of the anti-war protestors. But you took that out of context, anonymous, and made it seem like those that protested protestors were trying to limit freedom of speech. Which is so completely wrong that it's not even funny. The point is that they felt the courage enough to stand in front of the angry masses of anti-war protestors and give their support for a cause that they felt was just. I don't think that should be seen any differently than people standing up to fight against a cause that they feel is injust.

Propaganda is the setting forth of an unquestionable doctrine, that's a definition of my own, so in your words anti-war protestors would be propagandists. Anonymous, you talk about advocates of obediance being propagandists, but I don't see it that way. There is plenty of room for a contrary statement to be made (and it's been made for nearly a year now through loud voice and blue faces), but if someone stands up with a contrary idea to something that a anti-war protestor says, or if they simply support Bush, then they are propagandists? Funny. I suppose I don't care what I'm called if I believe I'm on the side of truth. And I suppose that's what the majority of America thinks as well. But throwing slanders at a group of people usually doesn't further ones cause. We allow plenty of counter-argument, and when nothing suitible is found, we make our decisions based off of the best information at the time.

But I'd like to adjust your comment about protestors being necessary to something that I think we can all agree on. You say that a society can't be free unless there are protestors. So for instance, a perfect, free society, would have someone protesting SOMETHING just because it's a free society? Is that what you're trying to say? I feel that it would be better understood if it was put forth that a free society can only be free if they have the ABILITY to protest. Obviously if we had some free and perfect nation (which I'm not arguing is the case) then we wouldn't need protestors because everything would be fine, but should things become otherwise, I'd expect people to stand up and let their voices be heard. So a free society has the ABILITY to protest, not the necessary civic duty. It only becomes their civic duty to protest when an injustice is found.

But don't label me a propagandist and something other than I am when I try to give support to what you claim is an injustice. I support what I feel is right, as much as I try to persuade against what I feel is wrong. I'm no different than you in that case, if that's really what you feel you are doing. We are both activists, we don't need to have that right removed for anyone.

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George W. Bush will take an oath in the name of God to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

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