In my very young years world events seemed not to touch my fears. Hey, I was immortal then, life as alluring as a rainbow. I believed in a God who blessed our land’s being and becoming. Evil was a Nazi Swastika or a Rising Sun flag and my toy soldiers did not bleed. Our playgrounds were ever-safe streets and alleys and city lots – stadiums for our budding talents and dreams. Worry belonged to older folks, to parents and uncles in uniform.
Back then I played at life, trusting teachers, priests and our President like guardian angels. Back then.
But now, in wiser years worry and my self walk hand-in-hand; that rainbow is not in sight. Evil permeates the world, is angry, masked and anonymous and insane. Innocents bleed and die in schools, cinemas, places of worship, malls, on mutilated streets, most far, far away but others much too close to home.
I worry not so much for myself but for my children and grandchildren and the inheritors of a world too soon, always, to be left behind. I do not like dark places or dark dreams. After storms I look for rainbows in the midst of scuttling clouds and, if not finding them, in the reach of promising light.
The political and cultural and even moral storms pounding our country leave no room for rainbows at the moment. Even for those who believe that the light is there, somewhere, that our nation is still young and growing into its Founding Fathers’ vision, today’s chaos is unsettling, if not unnerving. The cherished values of our nation are at risk; they seem lost or at least ignored in the actions of those in its highest places. Their self-serving attitudes feel more like “Me First” than “America First.” The latter fits fine when it comes to leadership among nations but it shatters the American dream when bullying the world with myopic hubris.
There is much to fear these dark days. Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Today he probably would have added, “…and those who use fear for political and personal gain.” There has to be a better way than flexing muscles and strutting and, let me say it, huckstering a “greatness” that should be humble and intelligent rather than bloated and bellicose.
Our Constitution remains the light behind the storms we are facing, telling every American that we can do and be better pursuing the vision that continues to shape our country and, humbly, the world. The rainbow is there because of that light and it is there that I, for one, rest my fear.