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Camelot?

"Do you believe in the dream called Camelot?"

The question was asked in various ways throughout the movie Merlin's Apprentice. The characters remained committed to the dream, even as their collapsed world continued to ignore them. Arthur was dead some 50 years. The Holy Grail had vanished, leaving a city of desperate dreamers hoping to resurrect Arthur's short-lived creation. A cute fiction, filled with hope and confused idealism. It wisely concludes that the dream of Camelot cannot succeed until it includes everyone.
      The image of Camelot evokes a golden city on a hill, where peace and harmony thrive, and people are happy. It is a community that resonates with high aspirations, filled with hope and grace. For a while, the United States thought itself the new Camelot, as the presidency of John Kennedy inspired new optimism, foresight and a refined vision of possibility.
      But the dream of Camelot remained just that — a dream. A Utopia of colorful banners, noble knights and ladies, and the security of impregnable walls. It inspired us, just a little, because we thought we had it, rather than having to build it. We had glimpses of who we could be in the hands of inspiring, untainted leadership and the confidence that it brings.
      We live in a very different world today. A world where the mightiest city can be crippled by a handful of ill-fated passenger jets, where power vents its rage thousands of miles away, leading to the deaths of countless innocents and the escalating madness of civil war. We see and even expect religious conflicts that blind people to their own humanity, not unlike the Dark Age when chivalry was first born.
      We live in a world of illusions, where money and pride and the insatiable thirst for power and celebrity choke us to the vision of something more real and perfect. We see churches emulating rock and roll concerts, leaders betraying their trusts in every way imaginable, and a divided people who balk at reconciliation, even as all we cherish crumbles down around us. We view in horror as the hubris of a government refused and belittled the sage advice of proven allies, and pressed us into a conflict that fuels the very terrorism we hoped to end. We equate Jesus with personal wealth and gun ownership and the same kind of fundamentalism that his example was supposed to end. We watch impotently as genocides burst on the scene, and global warming measures the cost of our unwavering greed.
      With all that going on, a voice calls out over the Internet, seeking to know if you believe in the dream called Camelot, a world where ethical choices make all the difference.
      Do you? Or is it all too hopeless to even try?

It is easy to conclude that idealism has no place in today's cynical world, where everything tells us that greed is good, and the lure of power even better. It is easy to fall in line and endear ourselves to meaningless distractions. Those who would profit from us hope that we do, no matter what the cost.
      But that means surrendering to the dragon of despair. It means that human beings are truly hopeless, and the experiment of democracy failed due to the meagerness of our aspirations. It means that failure is our collective choice.

Things are never as dark as they seem.
      In a survey on chivalry that we conducted, over half the respondents stated that Camelot is a valuable ideal that can be used for cultural, social and political improvement. Extrapolated across the population, this represents a lot of people who still believe in the dream called Camelot. Almost all the remaining surveys concluded that the dream had nostalgic value, or was nice idea, or regretted that, as a symbol for change, it was probably too late to make a difference.
      Only 2% said they liked things the way they are, and don't want change.
      A glaring 0% told us that it was ridiculous to even try.
      Approximately 80% (men and women) said that they would interested in joining something similar to the Round Table if they were invited to today. That's quite a revelation!
      In light of these survey results, the dream of Camelot no longer seems so unreasonable. Most people want a new and more perfect idealism to influence our society. They long for something better, believing, like most of us, that the majority of people do not share their beliefs, or not enough to make a difference.
      The survey shows that women are not exempt from this longing. In fact, they responded more positively then men. Only 1 ½% of women said that they did not want men to act more chivalrous than they do now. Men seemed more hesitant, scribbling concern about political correctness that most of the women were not at all concerned about.
      The truth is that the only hope the world has can be found in what we choose. We are responsible for all our actions, and for their social and global ramifications. We are the ones who decide if freedom is a blessing to the world, or the great moral threat that Islamo-terrorists believe. Freedom is what we make of it.
     
Chivalry-now, like the ideal of Camelot from which it was born, invites you to transform the entire world by taking a grasp of more abundant life. The War of Terror is actually a War of Ideologies. Until we face that single, all-determining fact, we will continue to lose that war, no matter how many terrorists we kill.
      We will succeed when we willingly clean our house of corruption and vice, and regain the personal nobility that Camelot would have all of us own.

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