, Newburyport, MA


December 10, 2013

I called, you answered

The debacle over who is right has held our nation hostage in a state of suspended animation for too long. We are bereft of statesmen who could argue their case and settle their differences for the good of the nation and quit worrying about the next election. What can an individual do to change the climate of dissension? Plenty, if we take the time to listen.

Over the past few weeks, the Senate chaplain, former Navy Rear Adm. Barry C. Black, has transformed the morning invocation into a daily conscience check for senators. For example: “Save us from this madness” and “Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.” He almost sounds like Moses laying down the law! Hello! Are you listening, Senate, but more so, do you understand the words of a true patriot and not those who dunk tea bags, wear tri-cornered hats and call themselves patriots?

Harry Reid, listening to the invocation, remarked,”I think we’ve all, here in the Senate, kind of lost the aura of Robert Byrd, one of the historic giants of the Senate who prized gentility and compromise.” Well said! May we hear from a Republican, please? Black is non-partisan and was chosen in 2003 by Sen. Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican who was the majority leader at the time. The chaplain tries for at least one minute every morning to break through on issues that he feels are especially urgent. The House, which has its own chaplain, liked what it heard from Black so much that it invited him to give their invocation Oct. 4. Let’s hope listening is believing!

This possible catastrophe of a government shutdown, meltdown, collapse reminded me of a similar situation facing Great Britain in the early days of WWII. That nation stood alone against all that Adolf Hitler could throw at her. Each night, bombers rained death and destruction on London and other major cities. Aged 10, I remember those days because my mother would cry herself to sleep as Glasgow’s shipbuilding sites along the River Clyde were bombed. My grandmother, Annie Macrae, lived in an apartment overlooking the Clyde and was bombed out thee times.

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