As I was mowing my lawn, which had grown shaggy during a vacation to the Black Hills, I heard the horn blasts that herald the Mexican anthem La Cucaracha ta da da daaaa daaaa - ta da da daaaa daaaa!
“How passť,” I thought to myself as I prepared to see some retro Mexican’s low rider cruising by. Instead I found an ice cream truck pausing to sell a dreamsicle to a neighbor. “Cooool,” I thought to myself replacing one moment’s contempt for another person passť past with my nostalgic fondness for my own passť.
First of all, shame on me for my stereotyping anyone let alone the largest growing minority voting group in the good old US of A. How Republican of me.
Secondly, shame on me for stupidly valuing my own passť over anyone else’s. I plead human, you’re Honor. We are all stupid in our stereotyping and, if we but admit it, we can be forgiven our trespasses.
We all hold and sometimes cherish stupid thoughts. Confusing low slung cars which bounce up and down sans potholes with Mexicans is one of my trespasses. We’re all guilty no matter how well educated. Take the college educated among us who believe Jenny Craig because a Google search convinced her that vaccinating children from the dread diseases of the past is the surest way to make them Autistic. No, No, No! My Google search persuades me that autism has grown epidemic because we are removing ourselves from Earth by disinfecting everything. Really! Check it out for yourself.
I am a slave to democracy whether it be of our shared stupidity, our right to vote or what may be the love God is willing to bestow on us all equally.
This last point was driven home to me when I vowed back in college to read a passage of the Bible every day until I got the beast read from Genesis to Revelations. The pledge didn’t extend beyond a single reading but that one passage held me in good stead for a decade: “He who calls another man a fool is a fool of himself.”
The quotation marks are mine and do not prove they can be found in the Bible. After an hour’s search I’ve not found that exact quote in my Aunt Susie’s dusty old Cruden’s Complete Concordance. However, Cruden’s lists several dozen mentions of the words “fool,” and “foolish.” A few of them hint at a similar treatment of foolishness including one that talks of the good thing it is to be a “fool” for God (or was that Christ?). Whatever the passage said my memory of it was as good a place as any for a Bible reader to stop and ponder. To my mind it is a very democratic idea.
Democracy, in old Greek, means rule of the people and grants them a rough equality in their citizenship if in nothing else. A similar kind of equality can be found in Christianity with its assurance that from birth we all are granted God’s favor. It is bestowed regardless of our wealth, poverty, intelligence or ignorance. In fact, the ignorant seem to have some advantage. Remember Christ’s instruction to suffer the little children. A more ignorant (innocent) rabble would be hard to find. The wisdom of adulthood seems to cost many people God’s favor unless, perhaps, they remain his fools.
America’s grandest stab at democracy is suggested by the Declaration of Independence and its clarion call: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” When Jefferson wrote this he may not have had the Bible’s God in mind so much as the “Enlightenment” philosopher’s faith in something they called the “natural law.” No matter. It’s my kind of sentiment even if I foolishly scorn low riders and venerate ice cream trucks.
Harry Welty is a local crank who also vents at www.lincolndemocrat.com