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McAlister: Our country is losing more of its loveliness

Jeff McAlister

Jeff McAlister

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot/And never brought to mind?” According to Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership of the 117th Congress, some of the things which ought to be forgotten during 2021 are basic categories of humanity (and much else) such as male and female.

Anticipating a new “woke” presidential administration, such terms as “mother and father,” “husband and wife” and “son and daughter” are now to be avoided, according to proposed new “gender-neutral House rules.” In their place are “parent,” “spouse,” “child,” et cetera. The singular “he” or “she” is superseded by the plural “they.” Chairmen or chairwomen are a thing of the past, to be dissolved into “chair.”

The purpose appears to be based in a sort of desire to “honor all gender identities,” or something like that. These folk really must have their finger on the pulse of the nation, huh?

As if these revelations were not enough, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), an ordained Methodist minister, led the House in an opening prayer honoring a god with many names, then concluding that invocation by saying “Amen and Awoman.” This was, to put it mildly, preposterous.

The Hebrew word “Amen” means “so be it” or “let it be so.” It has nothing whatsoever to do with the male sex or gender, and so his concoction of “Awoman” has nothing to do with anything beyond the fever dreams of critical theory and intersectionality. It surely is not related to anything biblical or Christian, but then that was probably beside the point anyway. At any rate, one remembers that high on the agenda of this party is the passage of the “Equality Act,” which would codify a regime which turns traditional Christians, Orthodox Jews and others who conscientiously object to the abolition of male and female into second-class citizens.

Seeing this iron new order brought into being by House Speaker Pelosi and her friends reminds this writer, an amateur student of history, of the fragility of human societies and of civilization. One thinks of the Jacobins of the French Revolution, who went so far as to change the names of the months of the year (think “Thermidor” instead of July), and extended the number of days of the week from seven to ten. These geniuses even took a prostitute and paraded her through Paris as “the goddess of Reason.”

Of course, I am describing the non-bloody aspects of the Revolution. Edmund Burke saw the grave dangers across the pond and sought to warn his fellow Englishmen.

“Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without,” he wrote. “It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

That is an apt illustration of our times, where metaphysical fetters bind those who believe themselves free. Burke gave us many other trenchant observations in his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790).

A few other quotes come to mind: “To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.” That poignant statement strikes a chord with those of us who see our country losing more and more of its loveliness. Then there is this observation: “When ancient opinions and rules of life are taken away, the loss cannot possibly be estimated. From that moment we have no compass to govern us; nor can we know distinctly to what port we steer.” Burke’s comments apply as much to “woke” America as to late 18th century France.

Seeing the country I love dissolve into madness and disorder has not been pleasant. Once again, it was Burke who warned of a time and place when “the law is broken, nature is disobeyed, and the rebellious are outlawed, cast forth, and exiled, from this world of reason, and order, and peace, and virtue, and fruitful penitence, into the antagonist world of madness, discord, vice, confusion, and unavailing sorrow.” Quoting passages from a melancholy 18th century Anglo-Irish Whig may seem an odd way to begin a new year, but reading the signs of the times, it seems apropos enough. Happy new year, anyway.

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— Jeff McAlister, a Longview resident, is a regular contributor to the Saturday Forum.

Today's Bible verse

“Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”

Proverbs 29:11

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