Friday, November 02, 2007

Voting in the Darkness

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind.You unlock this door with the key of imagination. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone."

Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone, Compilation of opening monologues, s. 1-4.

Rod Serling would stand facing the camera, dressed in a suit, cigarette between his fingers, smoke curling upward beside him like a genie, and he'd deliver his monologue, pausing for the final words, "You've just crossed over into ... the Twilight Zone."

When I began writing this blog a few years ago one of the first posts I entered here was of speculations of a civil war in America. I trembled at the thought, dismissing it soon afterward, discouraged that I would think such a thing, nervous that I had. These few years later the twilight deepens. I hear and read of those who mumble that the government doesn't represent the people, that the nation is flooded with those who are non-American, those born here, raised as American, those who hate our nation and wish to destroy it. Ten years ago I would not have imagined it. Today I argue with others that we still have a democracy in our land and not a reason at all to resist the government by force, being bound by our own laws to obey and accept our laws as good citizens. I feel like an alien in my own homeland.

We can look at our situation and see that so long as we can effectively vote and win or lose legitimately in public elections open to all majoritarian citizens that ours is a legitimate nation. If we don't like it, we can vote the bastards out. But we must accept that there aare 50 states in our nation, and that there are regions in our homeland, that not all of us are the same in culture and values, that those of us from one part of America might feel differently and strongly about the state of things from those living elsewhere in the nation. We might elect people of totally different natures and beliefs, a Muslim in Minnesota, a Republican in Colorado. We have a right to vote for whomever we choose, Muslims or Republicans. We can't claim that others elsewhere violate our nation and our rights by voting for those we wouldn't vote for. So long as neither breaks the law, either is as legitimate as the other.

And if there is a majority of voters in a state who change our laws into something unrecognizable? If the courts rule in favor of laws we cannot accept as American? If there is sharia law in Michigan? If there is sharia only in Detroit? If only in one neighborhood in the city? If the majority in a state vote for sharia, what do we do? It happens in cities and areas in Europe, in Sweden, The Netherlands, Britain. Ancient laws are overturned and replaced by edicts of social engineering brought in by legitimately elected leaders.

What happens to us when our nations are transformed before our living eyes into something we cannot recognize? What do we do when our lives are transformed into scenarios from the Twilight Zone?

Below is a bit from a London paper, the Daily Mail, on a report from government favored think-tank, so-called:

The report by the Institute for Public Policy Research was commissioned when Nick Pearce, now head of public policy at Downing Street, was its director.

IPPR has shaped many Labour policies, including ID cards, bin taxes and road pricing.

The report robustly defends multiculturalism - the idea that different communities should not be forced to integrate but should be allowed to maintain their own culture and identities.

And it says immigrants should be required to acquire some proficiency in English and other aspects of British culture "if - but only if - the settled population is willing to open up national institutions and practices to newcomers and give a more inclusive cast to national narratives and symbols".

It adds: "Even-handedness dictates that we provide public recognition to minority cultures and traditions.

"If we are going to continue as a nation to mark Christmas - and it would be very hard to expunge it from our national life even if we wanted to - then public organisations should mark other religious festivals too.

"We can no longer define ourselves as a Christian nation, nor an especially religious one in any sense.

"The empire is gone, church attendance is at historically low levels, and the Second World War is inexorably slipping from memory."

The report, written by IPPR advisers Ben Rogers and Rick Muir, calls on Ministers to launch an "urgent and upfront campaign" promoting a "multicultural understanding of Britishness".

"Multiculturalism can be shown to provide for a fairer and more liberal society and does not necessarily lead to social division and community conflict, as its critics have claimed," it says.

Councils must act to "ensure children mix and are able to form friendships with pupils from different backgrounds".

The report adds: "Any liberal state should recast the civic oaths and national ceremonies, or institutions like Parliament and the monarchy, in a more multi-religious or secular form and make religious education less sectarian."


I spend my life traveling around the world, and I have been to a number of desperately dangerous places, England not being one of those. But what is it? It's no more the nation of my youth than is anti-American America. Things change over the course of a long life-time, and to rue is to waste. I don't live in the late 50s or the early 60s, and none of us can. We live with what we have and make it our own as we are able. We adjust, we adapt, we accommodate. If the majority around us agree with things unfamiliar to us, alien to us, strange and unsettling, who are we to complain? We can always move elsewhere, somewhere between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. But I have a feeling the twilight will follow. I might even guess, were I to allow my imagination freedom, the coming of darkness.

No comments: