“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep, I’m afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”
- Alexander the Great
As so many of my ideas seem to arrive in my head, so did the launching point for today’s article whilst sitting in Church yesterday. (As did the idea to toss a “whilst” at you from the opening line of said article!) Anyway, during the very well received sermon yesterday morning, Isaiah 53:6 was read……”We all, like sheep, have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way.” While I’m sure there have been many more clever ways of expressing the same sentiments over the years, surely none have carried more weight. Their impact comes from the truth they carry. We have lost our way, but not just spiritually. Oh no, my friends…..we have a long way to go before we even reach the starting point of a spiritual journey. I’m talking about all the other paths we have chosen to follow as a country. We’re sheep. I know it’s a tired, played out analogy that radio hosts like to throw around amidst annoying sound effects and shameless plugs, but it doesn’t make it any less accurate. We are sheep. Each and every one of us.
Sheep are dumb. Sheep are happily oblivious to the fact that they are being led to slaughter. They are only concerned with following. They willingly walk to their deaths for the sake of being “part of the crowd.” Do we not do the same thing? Again I ask you, if we are not mindless sheep following the ideas and say-so of someone else, then how do you explain Ugg Boots? How do you explain the popularity of Chihuahuas? Someone popular did it, so we must also do it. It’s ingrained in us at an early age and sadly, it gets worse the older you get. Sheep are defenseless. Have you ever seen a sheep taking charge and leading the herd? They move as an amorphous blob, with no identifiable leader or direction among them. They are completely dependent upon outside influence. Again, if someone can draw a legitimate difference between the behavior of a herd of sheep and the majority of the US Population then I will gladly hear it. I’m betting anyone with enough intelligence to articulate such a thought also has enough wits to know one would be inaccurate. We follow. No matter how strong a person believes themselves to be, they are following something. There is someone ahead of you that keeps you moving in one direction. You don’t have to admit out loud, we all know it’s true. The rich follow the expense. The beautiful follow the attention. The weak follow the loud. The strong follow the challenge. We all follow something, even if that something is leading us to the slaughter. Sheep are filthy. Dogs clean themselves; birds have bird baths: cats even have the luxury of plopping down in the most inopportune spot and doing that weird, stretchy leg, butt to ankle in one swipe of the tongue thing. (Seriously, it’s creepy!) Have you ever seen a sheep bathing itself? No! Can you imagine wearing a thick, wool suit into the pool? A sheep’s hygiene really has nothing to do with this analogy, I just wanted to put that cat image in your heads. Sorry.
We’ve all been led astray. Those who deny such a claim have been led astray by their own arrogance. There is only one Shepherd’s Call to which our ears should be tuned, but unfortunately that’s just not the way He designed His flock. While living our lives, and running our country, and our homes according to the Word of God would be a terrific way of doing things, it’s simply not possible from where we stand today. There are myriad common sense changes we must make just to clear the path to the starting line of a collective spiritual journey, but that’s not to say we don’t get out the machetes and start the revolution. That’s the general feeling I get as we open this new year. Americans are sick of the “doom and gloom” mentality. The world is not going to end this year and we’re sick of being told to prepare as if it is. The United States of America is not too far gone and the people who make up this great country are getting a good old fashioned revolutionary feeling in their bones. It has nothing to do with the horrendous political landscape before us but more to do with the overall attitudes being shoved down our throats. There seems to be a general feeling of community as we look at the months ahead. There seems to be a sense of hope and encouragement no politician could possibly deliver. This is the kind of determined will that only the people of the United States can deliver to the world. It was not a politician that brought about the industrialization of the world. The presidents overseeing the information age have had about as much to do with it as I had to do with the Miracle on Ice. The American spirit brought about the significant ages of our country and the same will hold true in our very near future. We have to take that first step. Unelecting (that’s copyrighted, by the way) our current President will be a good start, but even more important is who succeeds him. Will it be another politician stubbornly loyal to the views of his party or will it finally be another “step back and let America do what America does best” type of leader. (Yes, any kind of ‘leader’ would be an improvement!) The changes we want can only be delivered by us, and I think people are finally starting to wake up to that fact. We need to make some common sense changes, but we are the ones who will make them.
CEO salaries when compared to the average employee are running at a ratio of 320:1. depending on which source you believe. Some list it as high as 475:1 but with the convoluted mess we have allowed to fester in terms of pay structures and stock options and incentives…….okay, I get it! Some changes are needed but to demand a ratio of 1:1 is even more absurd. Everyone in this country is not equal. Everyone in this country could be given the chance to contribute equally to a common goal, but such a dream is centuries away from the world we’ve built around ourselves. Common sense will tell us that CEO’s are taking advantage, in some cases, but not all of them. Do I believe that the guy smoking pot out behind the Jack In The Box up the street from my house deserves to make the same salary as the genius behind all those commercials? NO!! I do not! Changes are needed but they will not be the over-inflated, skewed changes depicted in carefully written political speeches.
Morality waved bye-bye to the United States about the time Paris Hilton was given a primetime TV show. Kids in California are being read stories by an active pornstar and driven to same sex wedding ceremonies during school hours because both have been deemed “teachable moments.” You know what; you’ve derailed! America is ready to take back the futures of our children from the catastrophic failure that is our Public School System. PLEASE do not read that as me saying there are no good teachers out there. There are terrific teachers in almost every school in the country. They are sincere in their mission but restrained by the greed of their unions and the system they own. There seems to be movement in the attitudes on that front as well. We’re ready to inject morality back into the lives of our kids who are learning confusing concepts well before the innocence of their youths have expired.
Free speech is a concept worth defending, but America seems ready to take it back from those who use it as a channel for their own lunacy. Yes, you have the right to say what you want, but that does not mean you get to impact the life of my children because your own beliefs are somehow more protected than my rights as a parent. That’s not what the founding fathers had in mind. I will gladly defend the idea of free speech in this country but I believe such a concept gives no shelter to men like the cowards at Westboro Baptist Church. The concept of free speech assumed that the men and women of this country would apply enough common sense to it’s use that law would not have to intervene.
This country is tired of being led to the slaughter by sadistic shepherds. Our leaders spend our money on things we don’t want. They spend our money on things that do absolutely nothing to enhance the future we hope to see. They do all this while we continue to follow one another to the slaughtering house. No more. Like a gawky, teenage boy entering puberty, our collective voices are beginning to change from the timid bleats of the lambs our leaders believe us to be into the intimidating roars of the lions we have always been. We will take back control of not only the political leadership in this country, but also the general direction in which we seem to be headed. Take control wherever you see an opportunity. Demand more from those who call themselves our ‘leaders.’ In fact, demand they refer to themselves as our ‘servants’ because that’s all they are. This idea that an elected official is better than the people they represent has come to an end. This is our year, dammit!
As always, thanks for playing!
J Robert Giles