I play baseball. Amateur (i.e., unpaid). Fast pitch. I know, it’s nuts, but there you have it.
Anyway, I’m heading out to the game and it’s across town. I’m on the highway (The Loop) and proceeding at terminal speed, which is 65 in this case.
Hang on, maybe “terminal” and “speed” should not be used in the same sentence, especially the way most people drive.
The highway is crowded because — well — it’s always crowded. People are driving 65 and 65 plus. Mostly plus, truth be told.
I begin thinking. A dangerous habit I fell into many years ago and from which extraction seems impossible. Like a tooth in the back of my head. Sorry.
I’m wondering how in the name of Vishnu, G_d, Allah, Zeus or any other deity you care to conjure does this highway driving thing even work?! It seems like it is a catastrophic event awaiting activation.
I mean – stop to ponder the situation for just a cold, clinical, detached moment – you have whizzing and hurling hunks of metal weighing close to two tons — or more — flashing by on all sides — doing the whizzing and hurtling at a startling (if you stop to ponder it) at a close proximity of around 5 to 6 feet or so.
And the only thing separating their car from careening madly into yours is a line.
A line PAINTED on the freaking pavement.
This whole damn highway thing ONLY works if everyone honors the lines. Sure, it’s only paint, but it might as well be invisible because it only functions if everyone believes in it.
Trusts it, endorses it. Has faith in it.
The only way such high-speed driving functions smoothly is the absolute belief of all the drivers that the lines will be honored. Each driver must trust the other.
The American Government works the same way. Well, it’s supposed to…
The invisible lines for our society – for all of us living in America—should be the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
Just like that simple paint on the highway, those documents are only printed words on pieces of paper. They have no magical reality beyond what people grant to them. And — yet — by entrusting our faith in those words, a great country was born.
What happens – however – when certain groups of people decide NOT to honor the lines?
Imagine the utter chaos that would ensue on the highway if there were drivers that ignored the lines and steered their vehicle anyway they wanted, without regard for others. The only choice in direction such drivers cared would be their own — your choices would be rendered meaningless and ignored. It would be very bad. Catastrophic indeed.
Imagine an American Government that ignores the lines and steers in any fashion it wants to without regard for anyone’s choice — then you have a much worse form of chaos.
That is because the vast majority of citizens are still using those aforementioned lines as guidance – they are honoring the invisible lines — the words of those documents — the ones that link us as Americans. When they see the Government driving haphazardly – without using the lines – there is confusion, anger, dismay.
If someone ignores the painted lines on the highway, there are consequences. There are law enforcement agencies who will pull your car over and stop you. Or, you may die in a fiery crash. Despite what some political groups would have you believe, bad choices must yield bad consequences. There is a price to pay for bad decisions — you cannot be constantly bailed out.
It’s called responsibility, integrity, honor.
Who is going to pull the Government over and stop them before they crash into citizens still honoring the invisible lines of American society? Who guards the guardians, as it were?
American functions as a cohesive society because we have a belief in ourselves and others. We trust each other in societal interactions, just as drivers trust each other on the highway. Even an atheist has to have faith in the invisible lines that provide guidance for the conduct of American affairs. When that belief falters because our leaders ignore the lines or try to redraw the lines without our consent, then we have a chaos that is not easily mended.
Without belief and faith there is no positive human action because individuals give way to despair and resignation.
Perhaps this is what certain political groups desire. Citizens despair and resign. They stop driving. The roads are clear. Government can then drive anyway it wants, using any lines it wants. That is true tyranny.
The belief that the lines formed by the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights is the fundamental truth of America is critical to our continued success as a nation.
If that belief is lost, then America is lost. This is a nation built on belief in self — and others. Mistrust, retribution, dictatorship, and fear is not what we want.
If you put your faith in something and say, “I believe,” then make absolutely sure it is a belief in the right thing. Not the lies that is often held out as truth by any group, individual or organization that lusts only for power and control.
Honor the invisible lines which hold us together, or suffer the tyranny of others who have no such belief.
See you on the highway!