A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.
–Marcu Tillius Cicero
I have been trying to listen to people more than I ever have in the past. Today, I read posts from people I know who are calling for the murder of all Muslims because they think we have to ‘get them before they get us.’ Another friend posted an attack on corporations because they think ‘big business’ is turning traitor for fleeing the highest corporate tax rates in the industrial world. And, naturally, I read many posts attacking Obama, the Democrats, the media and ‘Liberal/Progressives’ for destroying America. It was not too long ago I may have agreed with most of this, but not anymore. For the past few months, I have been undergoing a transformation: a transformation much like the one this nation underwent in the early half of the 18th Century. The same sort of transformation which lead directly to the creation of this nation. And that transformation has caused me to understand that there is an enemy within, and that this enemy within is responsible for the destruction of America, but it is not the enemy so many of us believe. The true enemy within is us — each of us, personally. And here’s why.
To those who think we need to count all Muslims as traitors and kill them before they can kill us: this violates one of this nations most fundamental ideals. Our nation was founded upon the belief that we all have free will, and that along with our free will is the Natural Right to freedom of conscience and religion. Now, I agree, that freedom ends when it causes harm to others, and Islam does call for the killing of all those who refuse to convert to Islam, but this does not include every Muslim. But the problem is the religion — not everyone who is called by that name. If that were the case, then this nation should be nirvana. Given how many Americans call themselves ‘Christian,’ and the moral precepts of Christ’s Gospel, we should be the perfect people. But we’re not, because too few who call themselves ‘Christian’ actually try to live according to Christ’s teachings. Well, the same applies to Islam — only in reverse. Those who call themselves Muslims but try to live in peace with those around them are the mirror opposite of the Christians who do not live the Gospel. And this is the true problem: Islam is a religion of violence, but it is the religion we need to destroy and not every person called by that name. I wonder: how many who fear Islam have tried to show a Muslim that they have been deceived by Satan, who used Muhammad, to blind them to the one true God? Have you done that? If not, then no wonder Islam is a threat: they have never been exposed to God’s truth. Maybe we should start there before we start killing, otherwise, we are no better than they — and certainly cannot claim to be of God anymore than they can.
To those who think big business has turned traitor simply because they are fleeing the corporate tax rates in this nation: did you have anything to do with setting those tax rates? Have you ever supported social security, medicare, medicaid, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, workers’ compensation, maternity leave, welfare benefits, or any other type of government ‘aid?’ If so, then you are the reason those businesses are leaving. You see, every time you have supported a growth in government to pay for some benefit to which you felt entitled, you voted for higher taxes. And since you would not vote to raise your own taxes, but you would vote to raise taxes on ‘the rich’ — which includes those ‘wealthy corporations’ — then you were voting for those high corporate taxes. Now, if I start taking more and more of your money, how long will it take before you start looking for a way out? And be honest — at least with yourself. Will you leave when I take 20%, 40% how about 60% of every dime you make? Well, the people who own those corporations are no different. There comes a point when the cost of staying here out-weighs the benefit and you leave. But make no mistake: if you leave because of something like this, you are not a ‘traitor.’ The people who drove you off are the traitors…and the thieves.
Finally, to those who think it is the political opposition who are to blame for our problems: you are the flip side of the same coin. For every principle you can show me that you think your opposition is doing to harm the country, I bet I can show you a similar practice in your own party that violates that same principle. Republicans complain about ‘tax-and-spend’ Democrats, yet they had the biggest ‘tax-and-spend’ Administration in history…until Obama, that is. And Democrats complain about invasions of civil liberties…until the most invasive Administration in history came along and happened to have a ‘D’ at the end of it (i.e. Obama). Both sides are hypocrites. In truth, all either side accomplishes is the alienation of the other, which divides the nation further still. Now, I think our founders had a little something to tell us about division. In fact, it was the subject of our first political cartoon: unite or die.
So you see, the true enemy is within each of us. We no longer care about principle and ideal. We no longer care about right and wrong. We no longer care about the rule of law. We no longer care about our neighbor. All we care about is ourselves, and what we want. Sure, our words say different, but what are words? How do we actually live? We say we want to do something about this or that, but they are just electrons on a flat screen. Where are the actions? Do we actually put feet to those words? Or are we all talk and no action? If you claim to care about right and wrong, then do what is right — even when it means you have to pay the price for your own wrongs. If you care about the rule of law, then demand that the law be faithfully executed — even when it is your interest that suffers for it. If you say you care about people, then live your words: go feed the hungry, cloth the homeless and treat the sick yourself. If you want good jobs, start a business and provide the type of jobs you think people should have. If you think people should have health care, then volunteer at the clinic and help people pay for their bills yourself. Do the things you think need to be done yourself. Do not worry about others — even if they do nothing. They are of no concern to you. And above all, do not try to force that same person’s government to turn against them to appease your sense of right and wrong — because, in reality, that has nothing to do with right and wrong and everything to do with resentment and envy.
In short: if you would fix this nation, first fix yourself. If I might, can I suggest you start by hitting your knees at the foot of the cross? You will find both forgiveness and redemption there, as well as the only sure way to change your heart for the better.