An Empire in Decline

A trusted colleague we met on the border recently sent me an article by Richard Rodriguez titled, “The ‘Great Wall of America’ and the threat from within”. I found the part about walls being a sign of an empire in decline particularly compelling. I remember reading an article as an undergraduate called “The Nervous System” in which the author asserted that much like headless chickens, the nervous system of a government is the last part to shut down. He used this metaphor of the nervous system to talk about the striking out (flailing or lashing-out violence– often perpetrated against the innocent) of a system that is dying or afraid of its death. He also extended the metaphor to talk about how such a system creates a nervousness that the populace embody–a low grade fear that is ever present, waiting to be triggered. As the immigration debate rages on a national level, and the debate about the Muslim center near ground zero rages in the city, I hear FEAR and in that fear I hear the lashing out of people who are afraid that someone is trying to steal something from them, that they will not have enough. My prayer for today is that we can let go of this fear long enough to witness one another’s humanity–finding compassion as we step forward into the inevitable changing future of this country.