I started to write about the death of George Floyd and the riotous orgy of killing and destruction it precipitated – the culture war in our streets that has torn apart the fabric of our nation. Over three days I easily wrote over three thousand words and never covered all there was to say. So, I stopped and lost myself in contemplation, and after much soul-searching I realized as a wise old Indian once said: “It doesn’t take a lot of words to tell the truth.”
John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
And perhaps after three quarters of a century of life, I have finally found the answer to existence here on earth. At least it’s enough to satisfy my feeble life. Oh, I’ve had the answer before, at fleeting times – many times. And many times I’ve lost sight of it. The answer is potential. That’s all we’ll ever have. Because all else around us is flawed.
I am not going to write about God, though you may read God in the lines I write. I’m going to write about man – man and woman – mankind and potential.
Potential – as simple and as difficult as that. When we really delve into the essence of our existence – ontology, it’s called — we find that potential is all we will ever have in this realm, in this little corner of God’s universe. Oh, sorry. I said I was not going to write about God.
All of man’s institutions are flawed. Our life on earth with all its variables and vicissitudes is flawed; our marriages with all its changes and complications as the years pass; our society with its mix of cultures and religions, values and mores; our governments – all the various governments of the world with their varying levels of corruption and cruelty — with all their governmental branches and concepts of economy and production. All flawed.
George Washington said, “”Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a fearful master, and a dangerous servant.”
Our churches, oily with hypocrisy and their secret grand schemes to dominate humanity are flawed. Even our love for each other is flawed, as is our mercy and our forgiveness. Vehemently we cry: “Justice for those who have hurt us!” And just as vehemently, or more so, we cry: “Mercy for us who have sinned.”
The races clash. Cultures distrust cultures, women against men, gay against straight, rich against poor, labor against management, children educated in government schools against parents from the old school, the young against the aged, liberal against conservative, Democrat against Republican, and on and on. We all don’t get along. We kill each other on our public streets. We riot and burn and loot and leave carnage in our wake. Government and courts, labor unions, political parties, advocacy groups – all cannot help us, all cannot initiate meaningful reform or legal remedy. And now the Floyd killing has sparked race riots across Europe.
“Shall the sword devour forever?” 2 Samuel 2:26.
And so, John Adams, we find ourselves alone with only our potential for morality. Sometimes when we say a person has potential, we are saying that person is truly talented, truly gifted. Other times we mean that person still has a long, long way to go. We are both – both gifted and with a long uncertain road ahead.
“The fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves” – each of us alone with our potential.
Image from: newsweek.com