Columbia, SC — Your house is on fire, the fire department has been called and is at work, yet no progress is being made in containing the flames that threaten to destroy your home, because the firefighters cannot come to agreement on how to quell the blaze. Then the fire chief says it’s 5 p.m., time is up, and the firefighters pack up their equipment and leave.
Could this be a picture of this nation?
Flames of fire will not consume this nation, yet there are forces at work that are eating away at the foundations of our house of representative democracy. If left unchecked, these flames will destroy the fabric of this nation — the average middle-class family, the backbone of our social structure.
Faced with budget problems, unemployment, the needs of the homeless and the poor, immigration, those who would destroy the Affordable Care Act and deprive millions the benefit of medical and hospital insurance, those who would take away Social Security and Medicare, lifelines for the retired and the elderly, and those who are concerned only with power and self interest, we are, in a sense, a nation on fire.
And those with the means to extinguish the blaze have gone home.
We claim to be a nation under God. We claim that God led the founders to create this house to be a home for justice, liberty, mercy, freedom, equality and righteousness. Have we lost the vision of our forefathers?
It is not Democrats, or Republicans, or members of tea party or libertarians who are important. What is important is the people, regardless of political affiliation. What is needed is for the elected leaders in the state and federal governments to come together for the common good, to labor together for the worth and dignity of human life.
Speaking on Jan. 9, 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt told the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born: “We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.”
Today we are called to give attention to those words from the past.
Rev. Canon George I. Chassey