After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they hid from God among the trees. “Where are you?” God asked them. Why ask? Certainly, the all-knowing Almighty knew their whereabouts. The question, as per exegesis, was meant to prompt self-reflection in them and for all of future mankind. Where are you in this world? What do you stand for?
As 2008 comes to a shameful close, we can only assume that most of have us have stopped asking ourselves these questions.
It appears that all the stalwarts we thought we could bank on (pun intended) have bitten into the proverbial forbidden fruit, and in their failings we have all fallen too. For as I monitor the news and the wires, I have yet to see any meaningful public outrage and outcry. We’ve submitted to the belief, “That’s just how things are.” We have momentary reactions and indignation, but, nonetheless, our very short attention span to these critical events reeks of facilitation, acceptance and, if not forgiveness, at least tolerance. Indeed, we live in quick-paced times where the sensationalism of a new headline blasts the former one to oblivion. We have gone from times when people said, “If I had only known I would have done something” to times when we know too much and don’t want to do anything.
When Eliot Spitzer, once the “hammer” of Wall Street, went down the wrong street in a pants-dropping scandal that turned him from governor to client No. 9, the nation was stunned. The entertainment value was priceless, but as a society we all paid a price. Whether you hated him or loved him, everyone respected him, as he was a bedrock of justice. When he fell, we all fell. The former “hammer” hit a heavy blow against our trust and drove each of us a little bit out of Eden. Now, just seven months later, he wants to make a re-entry into public consciousness. Do we turn the other cheek after he spitz in our face, or engage in a public outcry and teach “Generation Next” that actions have consequences?
We live in a time where people have no shame and don’t even bother hiding “among the trees.” Why? Because, in our apathetic slumber, we let them.
From the Illinois governor who openly calls for his phones to be wire tapped as he allegedly puts a Senate seat up for sale to Rev. Wright who blatantly damns this country before millions and gets away with it, what we are seeing is a shameless society. A federal jury finds Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens guilty of accepting and concealing tens of thousands of dollars in free home renovations and other gifts. Does he hide? No, he continues to run for office. But that story was nothing compared to the much hotter one of fresh-faced presidential candidate John Edwards’ cheating on his wife. It was really mind-gripping until Hillary made 18 million cracks in a ceiling that only crashed on her head after the liberal media turned on the Clintonian Camelot and turned Obama into a messiah. As the hungry spectators to this great show, did we take umbrage with the media for suspending the ethics and integrity of pure journalism? The supposed czars of fairness failed to ask themselves, “Where are we?” “What do we really stand for?” And so did we, the i-dazed masses.
But then came the economic maelstrom, and the issue of a biased press became less pressing. The greed, the mammoth corporate bonuses and the puff of Wall Street imploded. Again we all paid the price. As a punishment for their misbehaviors, the financial institutions received a $700 billion dollar bailout. In their remorse, AIG’s top people retreated to a resort and spent $400,000. The Federal Reserve was implacable in its reaction and gave AIG an additional $37.8 billion. And after all the bailouts, the man on Main Street still can’t get a loan, and the Bank of America, a beneficiary of the bailout, fired 35,000 employees.
Then along came the Big Three automakers who have run their companies into the ground through mismanagement, union greed and pandering to the oil markets. In 1981, according to the Environment Protection Agency, we had a fuel-efficiency rate of 20.5 miles per gallon; in 2008, we have 20.8 miles per gallon – what an improvement in 27 years. Please, let’s just give them another bailout.
And so, at the end of 2008, many have found themselves without jobs, some face home foreclosures, and others’ investments and security have disappeared with the collapse of the financial institutions, the recession and Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. These are difficult but pivotal times.
The materialistic securities that have come to define us are gone and now perhaps more than ever it is the time to question, “Where are we?” “What do we stand for?” Perhaps now is the time to turn back to God to inspire our road ahead. We have for too long put our destiny in the hands of false gods: Wall Street, the media, pop-culture icons, AIG, Ford, GM, Chrysler, the unions, government, hedge funds, iPhones, pseudo-gurus and greed.
An October poll showed that only 10 percent of Americans regarded the country’s moral and spiritual condition as their leading electoral criterion. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider. Perhaps a dose of religious doctrine will inspire us to speak out and scream out against our leaders and establishments who let us down instead of letting these outrages amuse us and co-corrupt us from headline to headline. From the voting booth to blogs, to writing letters to congressmen and senators, to participating in rallies to volunteering, we must fight back and not apathetically gripe as wrongdoers drive us all out of Eden. Indeed, Rome wasn’t built in a day and America won’t be disassembled in a day, but 2008 clearly reflects that we are coming apart at the seams. If we don’t guard what we believe in, we open our borders to foreign ideologies to come in and fill the void.
It may very well be that the secularization of this country is the problem. When a Washington governor permits a sign to be hung in a state capitol that defies and mocks God and religion, she has not served to separate church and state but only to separate decency and country. Let 2008 be exhibit A for my case. With the secularization of America that is manifested in such deep self-hatred and disdain for the fundamental Judeo-Christian values upon which this country was built, should we be surprised that this country is falling apart?
There is an ever-growing moral vacuum that has been filled with the most despicable villainy of human behavior. It’s quite amazing how some people are ready to die defending what they believe in, and we are not even ready to live for it.
In such chaotic times when in despair we turn to God and ask Him, “Oh, dear God, where are you?” perhaps the better question was asked by God Himself a long, long time ago. “Where are YOU?”