Saturday, September 22, 2007

Save Us from Weak Resignation

One of my favorite hymns is “God of Grace and God of Glory.” The music is the great Welch tune, “Cwm Rhondda” by John Hughes, and the words are by Harry Emerson Fosdick. In the fifth and last verse, he writes: “Save us from weak resignation, To the evils we deplore.”
As the war drags on and the deaths and misery keep mounting, this verse is a desperate cry for us not to sink into apathy and go shopping. With the Republicans supporting Bush and the Democrats unwilling to confront him and persist in demanding an end to the bloodshed, most people have moved on, actively willing the war out of mind. In his column of Sunday, September 16th, Frank Rich highlights our indifference to this intractable conflict. Thirty years ago, when Gen. William Westmoreland urged staying the course in Vietnam, all three networks pre-empted their midday programming for his appearance. When Gen. Petraeus gave his recent testimony on Iraq, no network interrupted a soap opera for his testimony. Rich points out that America can not win a war abandoned by its own citizens. The evaporation of that support was ratified by voters last November. For that, they were rewarded with the "surge." Now their mood has turned darker. Americans have not merely abandoned the war; they don't want to hear anything that might remind them of it or of war in general. Television programs and movies about our wars are ratings disasters and box office poison. The public has changed the channel. They don't want to see American troops dying in Iraq or Afghanistan, because they ask, “What can be done?” Now, writes Rich, our America, unlike Vietnam-era America, is more often resigned than angry.
Most Americans may have given up trying to end the war, but under their resignation, anger still lurks. This past week, when the Senate voted to censure MoveOn for its ad denouncing Gen. Petraeus, MoveOn reported the biggest outpouring of donations ever, ensuring more ads against the war.
So resignation is probably our attempt to forget, hide, or tamp down our anger. This is not likely to be helpful and may cause harm. As Harry Emerson Fosdick writes in his great hymn, we should not yield to resignation, but let our conscious and therefore focused anger be the weapon we wield against this terrible war. Write your members of congress, join protests, contribute money to causes that work to stop the war. Above all pray that your resignation be replaced with the determination to end this and all wars.

41 comments:

Franklyn said...

Absolutely right. And I am a good example. I'm just tired of it and frustrated that other than voting the Republicans out there is nothing I can do. Also, the fact that I am not daily made uncomfortable by it makes it easier to just not think about it. Its wrong, of course, but its better than being in a constant rage.

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