There is a list of rules covering everything from operations at a cider house to ordinances concerning a park bench, and in an utter inability to pay obedience to those rules, people have stopped altogether — stopped thinking, stopped engaging, stopped being the dynamic human beings we are designed to be.
Like any child who constantly hears ‘no’ many are just acting out of frustration for the glass ceiling and walls surrounding them — the unseen enemy that seems to be oppressing them through the imposition of a set of rules no one can abide by.
That’s what happen in the biblical narrative. People could not obey the hundreds of laws the religious leaders proposed which resulted in an annual animal sacrifice called the scapegoat. It was like the reset button for people who had fought and feuded with neighbors, defrauded in business, committed some kind of cardinal sin, or by other means had fallen short. The scapegoat secured forgiveness for the coming year and let everyone begin anew.
Once Moses came on the seen, he recognized the fact that no one could ever keep the law of Abraham and the scapegoat ritual was insufficient to keep the people in peace. Enter the Ten Commandments and a new way of thinking — simple, layman’s terms to give the people a plan for how to be decent in their dealings with strangers as well as those with whom they spend the bulk of their time. The Ten Commandments gave a common sense response to the dilemma of how to rule or govern our own behavior.
But our list of “Please don’t” rules has far exceeded what the Hebrew children contended with. The rule of law in America is highly debatable, conditional, poorly administered, vaguely interpreted, and forever being threatened to change or amend. Those in government operate with exception, clauses, special circumstances, executive orders, and other loop-hopes that continue to surprise C-SPAN viewers nationwide.
While religion plays less of a role in today’s political conversations, politicians are still wielding the same iron first dictators around the world hold over their citizens that secure an allegiance only a supernatural traction beam could break. Big government, and the manipulation thereof, leave citizens with a false sense of constitutional oversight and a misunderstanding of the “We the People…” mandate. Some might have us believe that religion is at the heart of the debate between parties, but unfortunately, it is the “please don’ts” and the “I rather you not” do this or that because it conflicts with our plans, that causes the greatest breach of trust.
Our checks and balances system is supposed to keep all this in order and proper perspective. Yet, since infighting has infested the thinking of those we entrust to keep things in order, those guardians of the system have become crying wenches relegated to a side stage performance. Center stage is now a place of mockery and the spectators who have bought a ticket to the show find themselves dissatisfied with the progress being enacted before them. This is the state of our congressional and judicial systems, some would include the executive branch as well.
Party division does more than show dual perspective on a given issue; it does more than provide greater representation for the diversity that is America. Party division alienates. Detracts. Oppresses. Persecutes. Burdens. Annoys. Harasses. But more than anything, political party divisions divide our nation when people swear allegiance to an ideology guarded by special interests, not common good nor common sense. Being ‘all red’ or ‘all blue,’ ethno-centered or gender biased keeps up from sitting at the table of discord, it keeps the system unbalanced and corruption unchecked. Because ethnicity and ‘race’, gender and sexual orientation, political affiliation, marital and economic status are all things that build invisible walls that separate people into bound groups — the differences are highlighted, not the similarities.
To remind us of how significant the similarities are, think about this:
In fact, we are much more the same than we have ever been different. Yet the tendency to stop recognizing these similarities just because someone suggested, or even demands, that we stop doing the ‘this or that’ that unites us is being marketed exponentially in spawn mode. The result of which has made people don their hyphenated labels like an honor badge instead the merit-based acknowledgements that can truly differentiate us in our sameness.
While today’s scapegoat remains unidentified, we have the option to choose to reset the unwritten rules we follow that keep us divided against each other. We have the ability, as dynamic beings, to decide to forego the status quo limits placed on us by bureaucratic dictators whose goal is to destroy our liberties and freedoms by pointing the finger of blame. A shift is bound to occur, abruptly, that will challenge us to take a leap off of our high horses before we get knocked off.