The Man Who Stood Alone
I’m growing a little weary of those dear souls who are always looking on the bright side. Our Lord did not come to earth to fit everybody with rose-tinted glasses. His mission was not to paint the clouds with sunshine. He was realistic. He saw things as they were and as they should be. He was no Pollyanna preacher smiling the clouds away.
The right side is not always the bright side immediately, but it will be ultimately. Some of us want to have all of our sunshine now. But our Lord, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. The way of the crown is always the way of the cross, but we want our crowns now.
The important thing is to be on the right side, however lonely and dark. We are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove, expose, and turn the light on them (Ephesians 5:11). Better than denunciation, though that has its place, is the light that shows things for what they are.
While the lambs were silent in the Senate on Monday—cowardly preferring a voice vote on the president’s $87 billion appropriations bill for the Iraqi occupation so they wouldn’t have to go on record—one lonely man spoke out. As the New York Times reported, “The voice vote took place late this afternoon, with only a few senators in the chamber. Although the voice vote allowed for passage without any negative votes being officially recorded, the approval took place over the conspicuously shouted ‘no’ of Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, one of the few lawmakers in the chamber.” In his speech supporting the troops, Senator Byrd took on blind patriotism, pointing out that “endorsing and funding a policy that does nothing to relieve American troops in Iraq is not a ‘support the troops’ measure.” The occupation is not working and will not work because the Iraqis are convinced our culture is offensive and our tactics are heavy-handed. Here is a “voice lesson” we sadly need to learn today, for so many of us have lost our voice. We are like Arctic rivers, frozen at the mouth. It is a “day of good tidings” and we hold our peace.
There is very little true patriotism anymore in America. True patriotism is love of country, not love of government. True patriots refuse to honor government above God. True patriots understand loyalty as adherence to the ideals upon which the country was founded. True patriots believe that eternal vigilance is necessary to keep politicians under check. True patriots believe in the old Constitution heart and soul. True patriots concur with President Theodore Roosevelt: “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.”
One man in the Senate understood that peace without truth is not peace but compromise. Our old, harassed world seeks refuge in make-believe—in the movies, television, religious fads, even chemically in drugs like Oxycontin. So we have pseudo-patriotism, false orthodoxy, simulated happiness. Men choose the false and God allows them to reap the consequences of their choice.
Our politicians need anything but tranquilizers. They need a dose of good old-fashioned conviction that keeps them awake at night and makes them miserable until they speak out in defense of the Constitution.
November 5, 2003
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. He is currently finishing his latest book, Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon.