Today is December 18,2011, the 4th Sunday in Advent. Today’s reading comes from the late Vaclav Havel: “Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred.” mmmm….interesting when you take this quote and put it into the context of American politics. Havel was a guy who quietly stood up to the Communist Bloc machine, who was there right in the middle of the Prague Spring in 1968. The Soviet invasion squashed that reform endeavor but didn’t snuff it out completely. Equality and dignity were put on hold for almost 20 years until the totalitarian rule from Moscow finally imploded. It was people power. The same power that you and I have. Now our enemy is intolerance and arrogance. It has a new face, but it’s an old story. On paper we have a republic that prides itself on elected representatives being our “voice” in our own government. The “voice” of course, is dependent on how much access one has and the amount of access one has is dependent on how much financial influence one has. It’s an old story, but not a story written in stone. When we want change now, sometimes we have to take to the streets. That can be inconvenient, but the alternative inconvenience is worse, no voice. We must work for equality.

The latest round of intolerance and hovering near a type of totalitarianism are the statements by Newt about arresting judges who hand down decisions he disagrees with. He would like to create an imbalance of power with the executive holding sway. In other words, he is proposing a type of dictatorship. It is true I haven’t agreed to what some of the courts have handed down, including the decision in the Citizen’s United case, but that is the system we have and we do have  democratic tools available to remove officials, including judges we disagree with. Unlike some of the provisions of the Patriot Act, there is due process (although this is slowly being eroded as well). No, extremist views like Newt’s have little chance of seeing the light of day. But then again, anything is possible if we watch from the sidelines. Time to head to the streets. Like Vaclav, our job is to comfort the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable.

and so it goes….