Chronicles in Ordinary Time 12: to tame the savageness of man

A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook, an analysis of the Republican Party and it’s apparent trend toward Social Darwinism. Along with the article was my friend’s comment: “who do we really turn to to resolve these issues?”

My reply: “God help us, I’m not sure they are in politics, yet. Maybe they’ll arrive sometime in the future. To me, at this point in time, it seems like, ‘endure, and survive’.”

I watched the movie “Bobby” this evening, written and directed by Emilio Estevez. Emilio  shook Bobby’s hand at the age of 5, and it forever changed Emilio’s life.

I’d forgotten…

There was a time; there was a champion, beloved and respected by many. He was bringing people of all colors and creeds together; with hope for a new beginning.
His father called him the ‘runt’ of the Kennedy clan. US Attorney General under his brother’s Presidency, he was known by most people, and he was disliked by many in ‘the Establishment’. The Senator from New York was not expected to follow in his brother’s footsteps; but he felt a call to speak for a new time…

“If we believe that we, as Americans, are bound together by a common concern for each other, then an urgent national priority is upon us. We must begin to end the disgrace of this other America. And this is one of the great tasks of leadership for us, as individuals and citizens this year. But even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction—purpose and dignity—that afflicts us all. Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.** ”

I was 15 when Bobby was assassinated. I was fairly oblivious. A classmate in high school was devastated. I don’t remember his name, but he was an outspoken Protestant Irishman. I didn’t understand, nor did I care to understand his political beliefs; but his passion I have never forgotten.
Over the years, I have grown to understand Bobby’s significance in American history, and the loss we suffered. By the time I turned 18, three short years later, and was facing the Draft and probable end of my life in Vietnam, I was no longer oblivious.

I find, at this period of my life, I get angry during election years. I get angry at the political rhetoric; I get angry at the posturing; I get angry when I hear comments that seem to have no understanding of what I believe we are supposed to be as people.  I lean toward the Progressive Liberal side of the spectrum; mostly because of my understanding of the teachings of Jesus. The oddity of me calling myself a Progressive Liberal is that I’ve been a Republican for most of my life; a follower of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln–ardent Progressive Republicans. I’m currently a part of a church whose membership is largely made up of people from the other end of the political spectrum than I, who tend to be of the party affiliation that I’ve fled.
I dislike getting angry with comments from the people I attend church services with. I prefer the company of books and movies to the company of people; it’s an effort for me to be among people on a weekly basis. However, I know that my soul needs to associate with fellow Believers. As my life has become so closely involved with Bobby’s quotation from Aeschylus, I don’t know that I have gained that much wisdom from living a life filled with pain…and now a life where the ability to feel pain is continuing to diminish. I know, from my living among other Believers, that the Eternal inhabits prayer. The Eternal does not necessarily provide answers to prayer; but those who pray can become more.

I had hoped that the miraculous event that occurred in 2008 would perhaps usher in a New Time in America. It seems to have mostly intensified the America of my young adulthood. That “other America” Bobby spoke of. My children are all in the vicinity of their thirties–one side or the other– and I wonder if they will see the Arthurian vision of Camelot in their lifetimes…

The fictionalized character of busboy Juan Romero, who was holding Bobby’s hand when the Senator was shot in the Ambassador Hotel.

and thus ended the vision of Camelot for my generation.

**http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Ready-Reference/RFK-Speeches/Remarks-of-Robert-F-Kennedy-at-the-University-of-Kansas-March-18-1968.aspx

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One Response to “Chronicles in Ordinary Time 12: to tame the savageness of man”

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