The International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now

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A New America

Now that the 2006 elections are over, and the Democratic Party has gained the seats it needed, we find ourselves waiting, as usual, as our hopes and dreams for a better future continue to flounder.
     Was it foolish to expect more?
     Yes, they're trying to improve things—Democrats and Republicans, each with their lockstep priorities. How is it then, that things never improve and often get worse?
     Perhaps the bible gives us a clue. It tells us that we shouldn't pour new wine into old wineskins.
     Both parties, and most Americans along with them, are stuck in a rut. We never hear any new and positive thinking anymore. Just the monotonous drone of entrenched power, using words and ideas that haven't excited anyone in generations.
     For example, they persist in pigeonholing ideas as liberal or conservative. Once that happens flexibility and real change go out the window. We end up defining ourselves by our own inadequacies. We let misguided pride make decisions for us. Or two-dimensional, juvenile clichés coined by school yard bullies, like "cut and run." Or being so full of pride that we refuse to talk to our enemies, even when it means slighting our own best interests.
     The nations of the world may respect our strength, but they no longer look to us for leadership. Our moral monologue has become stale and archaic in this bold new world, especially when that moralizing contradicts our own actions.
     Even with war we allow pride to direct us more than common sense. Trying not to lose face in theory, we lose face in fact. And we know it! We just can't stop ourselves.
     If we look at global events with an open mind, economically, politically, morally, we can see first hand that we live in a new world. The old answers don't work anymore—largely due to the advancements we propagated! The Age of Pseudo-Imperialism is over now. People are far too sophisticated.
     We need to move forward, even if our leaders refuse to keep pace. Don't worry. They'll catch up—or not. Either way, we can't wait for them to take the initiative. They've been pushing us backwards far too long, and know little else.
     We, the people, all of us, need to think differently about who we are and where we're going. Manifest Destiny has already manifested. It's time to move on. We need fresh ideas, not just promises and rhetoric.
     We need a new Renaissance. A resurgence of intellect and art and human insight.
     We need a new Pax Americana—no longer measured by the past, but by the future as we see it. We have to understand that not all American interests are worth hurting or killing people for. We are greater than that. Our traditions are greater. Our religions are greater—despite the confusion of recent years.
     We need to remedy our jaded conscience so that political spin is no longer acceptable. We do that by becoming as intolerant of lies and corruption as we are of treason, for in the clear light of day they are one and the same.
     We need a renewal of the primary philosophical principle that America was built upon: that the true benefit of freedom is the good that results from it, not the sleaze or ungainly profit or the power we gain over other people. Freedom that is not humane is freedom that has lost its soul.
     We have to learn from our past mistakes that there is no "them against us" in this nation. There's only us. If we look to "win or lose" among our own people, no matter what race or religion or neighborhood we live in, we all lose.
     We cannot wait for a leader to carry us forward. It would not be a new Renaissance if we did. It has to come from us. The way we see things. The excitement of building something new and better, liberating ourselves from the ignorance of the past. There can be no fundamental change if we cling to old ideas and longtime grudges. For starts, throw away those old labels of conservative and liberal. They've restricted our creativity for so long that for every step we take forward we go two steps back. Liberal dreams and conservative trepidations are senseless to the here and now and what needs to be done. Good will is the final arbiter. Respect for others. A dissolution of group think, that only betrays its own principles in the end.
     The new Renaissance will not begin in Washington. Or in Rome. Or the Middle East. It begins with the liberation of your heart. You. Not George Bush or Hillary Clinton. Not John McCain or Barach Obama. It's time to wipe the stars from your eyes. It begins by examining your own beliefs and discarding what doesn't work anymore. It begins by listening, not automatically contending. It begins with a commitment to truth and life, which in turn creates a better commitment to all.
     In a democracy, people have to change before leadership changes. That's means us. And that's what Chivalry-Now is all about.
     Now, I could tell you my views about, let's say, abortion. I might even convince you to accept my views as your own. But that would be wrong. You have to formulate your own opinions. And after a lifetime of being proselytized to by everyone you meet, you have to separate what you truly believe from what was injected into your psyche. That's what freedom is all about. It's about freeing your mind from the shackles of other people's opinions. It's not about following or leading. It's about encouraging free thought in everyone.
     Those who seek to control you won't like that idea. They know that the original Renaissance eventually toppled the power of the aristocracy, leading to the Enlightenment, from which our great democracy was born. They like things the way they are.
The question I want to leave you with is this: DO YOU???


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