In this particular piece, you will not find the terms Republican, Democrat, or Independent. You will not read about race. There will be no references – overt or covert – to issues of gender or age. No lyrics from the Doobie Brothers song “What a Fool Believes” will appear. Today, we’re going to talk. Just two cool people discussing postmodern life in America – through the prism of what a fool believes. Or more to the point, what an American fool believes.
I don’t have to define for you what a fool is. Everyone recognizes a fool when he or she is present. A fool’s words, actions, and mannerisms precede him or her. A fool cannot be reasoned with, is unwilling or unable to express remorse/contrition, and is typically in love with his or her own voice. None of us is perfect. We’re all in the process of becoming. Every single one of us have done things we now regret, and have said things we now regret. Those truisms, of course, don’t apply to the average fool.
Consider Jesus Christ – the pinnacle of human perfection. He was without spot or blemish as a human being. Every thought He ever had, every word He ever spoke, and every action He ever took were all holy and righteous. I love every detail about Jesus, but here’s my favorite one: He was the ultimate humanitarian. He loves everyone. He died upon the cross for all of us – to save all of us from eternal damnation. He respects everyone, yet he is no respecter of persons. In His eyes, a schoolteacher is as precious as the leader of a nation. Jesus offers the gift of eternal life to all people regardless of their wealth or lack thereof. During His ministry here on earth, He fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and healed the sick whether those in need were rich or poor, young or old, educated or uneducated. He treated everyone equally.
Those who are truly about the solemn yet joyous business of living up to the noble title of Christian are wise. True Christians exhibit the heavenly attributes Christ Jesus modeled for us: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. A fool believes that’s a nonsensical approach for non-thinking people. Fools promote hatred over love, sadness over joy, war over peace, impatience over patience, belligerence over gentleness, evil over good, suspicion over faith, braggadocio over meekness, and overindulgence rather than temperance.
Consider America. In the abysmal state of our current political discourse, this is a golden age for foolishness. Why take personal responsibility for your own jaded viewpoints, poor choices, or lack of conviction when you can simply point the finger of blame at a person or a group of people instead? Why think for yourself when well-compensated pundits in the media will happily tell you what your political views should be? Why should ‘those people’ – insert conspiracy theories here – have the same right to vote as you? After all, you’re (somehow) bigger and better than them, right? It’s your country, and you want it back! These are all the things an American fool believes.
A fool believes that this is no longer America. The fool is persuaded that the President is evil. A fool believes that this nation’s best days are behind us rather than ahead of us. A fool believes that in 2015, the American dream is only applicable to himself/herself, his/her loved ones, and a few other designated few. Everyone else is on their own. The fool will tell you a very long list of things the United States of America cannot do now – but is mysteriously silent when asked to cite what the U.S. of A. can do.
Fools quickly shout the phrase “Don’t tread on me,” but have no idea what the historical origin of that phrase is. Fools scream passionately that the U.S. Constitution must be followed to the letter, but they can’t recite the Preamble of the Constitution. Such individuals couldn’t give you three Constitutional Amendments if the fate of mankind depended on it – which makes as much sense as ketchup on a warm honeybun.
Where is their sense of patriotism, community, and/or compassion? Like the grinch, their hearts are three sizes too small.
Nothing good comes from hatred. What a bright American morning it will be when our schools, churches, and elected leaders collectively teach that with renewed vigor.
Here’s the good news. Foolishness isn’t a permanent condition. Knowledge is indeed power. Knowledge is to foolishness what a vacuum cleaner is to a dusty carpet.
Many fools are actually highly intelligent people who want to believe in something greater than themselves. They’re solo operatives who want to belong to a team. To a family. It’s incumbent upon the wise to welcome them back with open hearts and open arms.
It’s said that God especially loves fools and children. Those who lack wisdom simply have to ask Him. Former fools can become effective leaders. I know that. Seeing is believing.