The agonizingly slow pace of my own pneumonia recovery has had some surprising benefits. On a few days when I have been at home, not yet started on my Flagship exercise program, I have had small extensive times to watch or listen to media coverage of the so-called "Impeachment" hearings in Washington.
I am surprised at how closely even the more reputable daily radio stations report the hearings following a pre-conceived narrative that derives from "narratives" already pre-determined that operate from guilt already assumed. Their time is limited, and reporters seem unable to resist the temptation to insert themselves into the picture they are trying to paint.
Unexpectedly, to me, the television cameras and the questions thrown at witnesses, as both political parties ask questions, allow something else that radio seems not able to do. As you watch the faces and the bearing of representatives on "both sides of the aisle," as well as watching the faces, and listening to the voice tones of the witnesses, we viewers get a chance to see motives and biases of the questioners, and the truth of witness responses.
Oddly, television interaction gives opportunity to see the souls of the players, and sift out what the questioners are trying to get the witnesses to say, and how carefully the witnesses are trying to answer truly, partly because of the dire consequences of being "under oath" in what they say.
Somehow, in watching, a viewer can almost see the traps being set and the witnesses' attempts to avoid them.
And, out of little insights a larger picture has begun to emerge and part of it is disheartening, because among the motives that come clear is the strange, so tempting, spirit of revenge. The will to indict the one person in our democratic society who has been elected by the people to be our leader. The one person who holds an office of leadership, rightly won, "at the ballot box" by the people of this land we love.
He has disappointed in crudities of speech and a nuance of self-centeredness. He is a new phenomenon in leadership. And yet when we look at much he has tried to do, he has defended the right of an unborn baby to live. He has taken steps to defend religious liberty. He has tried to find answers to untangle intractable problems that have gone unsolved for decades. He is a sinner - like the rest of us.
Like so many leaders in the Bible, he appears to be a fallen man. Yet, he, like so many leaders in biblical times, has been used by God to do good.
Our job as citizens is to pray for our leaders, faulty or not. Even to love them, blemished or not. To make our republic work requires a faith on the part of the people. It requires a certain spirit of goodness, a commitment on our part, to be servants too - of the nation and the world.
We need to catch and hold on to the mission that first brought pilgrim settlers to this land, and who, generation by generation, came to see themselves as a servant nation, caring about all people everywhere. We need to be deeply, followers of Jesus, Who in the end, gave everything for the saving of the world.
That calls us, ourselves, to be redemptive people. Reconciling people. Loving our neighbors people - following Jesus' last great commandment to his followers: "Love each other."
We need to work to see the best in other people. And, to be the best we can for other people.
We are a privileged people to be in this land, and to have received the gift of being Americans. These times are clearly a challenge to us all. And we are in need of God's mercy to help us through this time.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES