Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.
First – animals get mad, people get angry. In this instance, however, perhaps the right terminology is MAD.
Things are happening in this country that sometimes appear to be so convoluted that we lose sight of the original intent. We have heard the slogan, “politically correct.” To me, that is not a license for intolerance, but rather an opportunity for dialogue. At every turn we seem to be at each other’s throat just like mad dogs.
Insults have supplanted common decency. Vitriol has replaced civility. Everything is scrutinized to determine if there is a hidden meaning or agenda. The gun has replaced exchange. Confrontation has destroyed plain, old-fashioned negotiation. Conflict has become the norm, and peaceful demonstrations old fashioned.
Our lives are threatened. We are afraid to react to danger because we may make a mistake and then be condemned for reacting altogether. Our police are attacked, our humanity put on hold. Our armed forces are in situations that were never dreamed of before.
Will there ever be a meeting of the minds? Our country is famous for its ability to weather the storms. God is no longer welcome in invocations or benedictions. Decorations for holidays have to be designed to portray secular images because someone may be offended. To be politically correct now means to ignore our identity. We are witnessing the cessation of the Presentation of Colors or the Pledge of Allegiance because it might offend someone.
I begin to wonder what we fought and sacrificed for – and, yes, died for on the battlefields of Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. On and on, the list is endless of past and present events that ultimately required our participation before the whole world destroyed itself. We are the only ones – America– who understands that freedom is not just legislated, but something that requires work – hard work, both on and off the battlefield.
Fighting Mad – you “betcha.” Mad that we cannot do or say anything for fear of offending. I am not talking about hate speech or words that incite, just plain old talking. Saying what is on our mind is now relegated to thought alone.
Fighting mad – of course, because this country gave so much for so little in return. I wonder what G.I. Joe, returning from the battlefields of Europe and Asia, would think if he were here now? I wonder what the mothers and fathers who lost a son or daughter would think as they were forced to remove the gold star from their window because someone may take exception to their misery?
Fighting mad because we see the world around us melting away into chaos and destruction and sit idly by trying to understand what our blind acceptance has wrought. Innocent people slaughtered, all supposedly in God’s name. Headlines scream of carnage, and the debate begins anew. This is followed by calm and then relegated to memory.
Fighting mad – I believe we should all be fighting mad that we cannot be who we are without feeling the insecurities of patriotism or faith. What’s next? Perhaps we should remember the words of the Prophet Isaiah (12:2), “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”