There are three reasons (at least) that I can’t serve on the School Board. The first two are because I’m a freak, and the last one—well, I’ll tell you at the end, if you read that far.
When they swear me in, they’re going to ask me to take an oath to support the Constitution. But I’m not going to take an oath I can’t keep. And if I don’t take it, they won’t let me hold the office—even though the people voted for me. And what they expect of me is simply to lie like everybody else. But I won’t. So that makes me a freak.
I suppose it’s at that very bottom-most level of self Where the most important things go wrong— Below the levels where the more-tangible things happen, Like language and plans and emotions and analysis— At our very core, where the human will lives, Often in the shadows, and hiding from the view Of own awareness in those upper levels.
If America were to wake up tomorrow— Suddenly under the reign Of a righteous and powerful king, Having been charged by God himself To set things straight without partiality—
And if, by some chance, that king were me— God having somehow figured me righteous enough For such an undertaking, and having given me No other instructions but to do what seems best In view of what I have learned so far from the Bible And from my study of history and of our Constitution—
The righteous person thinks That the main battleground In the fight between good and evil Lies in his own heart. And he will see to his own righteousness first, No matter the cost.
But the unrighteous person is apt to think That the main battleground Lies somewhere outside of him— Such as in politics or in church Or in the hearts of others. And he will excuse his own sins As of secondary importance To these.
This is such a tough principle to navigate! How much should we “stand our ground”, and how much should we simply let people be the people they are, even if it steps on our toes?
I think this is one of the greatest philosophical questions we face as humans, and how we face it says a great deal about what kind of people we are. (And I don’t think I understand it all myself—just that it’s of huge importance.)
How curious that a man Can be willing to do a thing And yet not be willing to be it— That he will commit to it outwardly And even for impressive periods of time And yet not love it with all his inner being— And live on for years divided about it in his spirit!
People’s minds are messy. In many things involving both our understanding And the way we explain that understanding We are fuzzy and imprecise and technically incorrect In some regards, even if not in every regard.
She gives in buckets— Pouring herself out daily Even though she totally Knows the routine by now— That when he gives It’s usually with an eyedropper, And even then, it’s Only when he finds it Strategically necessary.
And he does his best Not to think anything Of the huge difference Between them, For if he did, It might prick his conscience. And that, he thinks, Must be avoided At all costs.
And she does her best Not to think anything Of the huge difference Between them, For if she did, It might tweak her pride. And that, she thinks, Must be avoided At all costs.
So she still gives in buckets.
And I cannot help But to compare them both To myself. And I am in between And deeply convicted That I do not Give in buckets More often.
NOTE: He routinely decouples from his conscience, while she routinely decouples from her pride. It is a fundamental difference in paradigms.