that grandiose idea

• In my theology I don’t want cheap grace,
and in my country,
I don’t want cheap freedom,
cheap bravery or cheap democracy.

The more freedom is individualized into
“my” freedom and “yours,”
the cheaper it is.
Our freedoms are not for any “me”,
nor for any “you”;
they are for us,
and the bigger the us, the richer the freedom.

The more bravery is expressed
in rhetoric about what people “would” do,
the cheaper it is.
What are we doing?

The more money that is pumped into a democratic system,
the cheaper the democracy
it underwrites … and undermines.

• When ideology becomes the mouthpiece of business,
the priority is no longer the common good.

• What would it be like to have representatives
from all 50 states gather in Washington,
and to put 100 of them in one big room—
oh, let’s say each one someone
who voted for their respective senators,
and to put 435 of them in another big room—
each one someone who voted
for their respective congresspersons,

but none of them paid for their perspectives,

do you think they might be more invested
in an outcome to a conversation
than on maintaining their position?

Maybe not. But maybe!

• “O say does that star spangled banner yet wave
over the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Well, surely it waves over freedom-loving, brave people
who live in this land,
but do we as a nation embody the rich, deep dream
of who we once thought we might be?

No.

But we could.
We still can.

First, we have to name the brokenness.
Then we have to pick up the pieces.
Then we dream big again.

• We, the people, are people of every color
and ethnic and educational background,
of every age and sexual orientation and faith,
of every economic and social status.

We are not reduceable
to any manageable demographic.

And our government of, by and for the people
(all the people—we, the people)
may not institute privilege for some.

When it does, it stands in eloquent testimony
to the hypocritical denial of its own intent.

• Ours is the land of opportunity for all.
Anyone can “make it.”
Well, yes. And my church’s softball team
might conceivably,
trailing by, oh, let’s just say 33 runs,
in the bottom of the ninth
with two outs and the count a full 3 and 2,
we might—
it is undeniably possible
that we could—
come back
and beat
the Orioles.
The opportunity cannot be dismissed out of hand.

But to justify a celebrated historic affirmation
on the basis of what now often amounts to an exception to the rule
seems more than a bit desperate.

• I just found out they’re the National Rifle Association.
I’d been thinking they were Not Really Adequate—
not really adequate at representing hunters,
not really adequate at representing responsible gun owners,
not really adequate protectors of the constitution,
certainly not really adequate at responding
to the problems and needs of our day—
to the immense danger of violence
and their contribution to it—
promoting scare tactics to sell women pink guns,
modeling guns as the way to solve problems in games for children,
suggesting men should have magazines for their guns
as big as their … fear.

Now they sure are great at representing the gun manufacturers,
but that’s not their job, is it?
Oh, it is?
See, I’ve just had them all wrong.
Sorry.

• Too many of our leaders buy the lies
and are paid to
which we then have to pay for.
That’s all backwards, isn’t it?
Shouldn’t we let them know …
in the clearest possible way?

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