Truth, service missing from duty

Michael Alcorn, Hitting Home
Posted 11/13/12

My son is going through a “superhero” phase right now. His favorite movies are “The Avengers,” “Iron Man” and “Spider Man,” his …

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Truth, service missing from duty


My son is going through a “superhero” phase right now. His favorite movies are “The Avengers,” “Iron Man” and “Spider Man,” his favorite toys are his “Batman” Legos, and, best of all, the other day as we were about to cross the street, he looked to one side, extended his hands toward an oncoming car, and squeezed the inside fingers of each hand towards his palms and “shot webs” to stop the car.

Nope, no dolls for this little guy — he’s all about the imagination and saving the world. And sound effects — turns out superheroes make much better sounds than dolls. I remember days, way back when, that I used to dream about having superpowers. My power of choice was flying, the power of unassisted flight always seemed like the coolest of all the superhero skills. Y’know, talking to fish and running really fast are all well and good, but, for my money, flying was always the way to go.

These days I want a different superpower, though I suspect it’s just as much of a thing of fantasy as flying. I want the ability to heal; more specifically, I want the ability to heal the divide in this country.

After the most expensive — and most negative — campaign in history, the country has returned the president to 1600 by the slimmest of popular margins, returned a strong Republican majority to the House of Representatives, and sent more Republicans to governor’s seats than two years ago.

In other words, the country has voted for divided government, partisan gridlock and more bickering. Even more telling, I saw a graphic the other day that showed you could drive from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, and from the Pacific Ocean to within about 20 miles of the Atlantic Ocean, all without passing through a single county that voted for President Obama.

People in Jefferson County know all about this divide, because we enjoyed the glorious distinction of being a “swing” county. That’s why the candidates spent so much time here, and why we were buried in ugly advertising for the last nine months.

And, for all that, I really doubt that anybody’s minds were changed.

Sure, there were a handful of people who didn’t make up their minds early who were influenced by the late barrage of advertising.

But for the most part, this became an argument, not about which way was better, or which principles should guide us, but about who was the scariest person for the next four years. Hardly the stuff of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln.

We should expect better. And I’m going to start to propose a way forward, starting with First Principles. Maybe we can’t all agree on First Principles, and maybe we can; I’m not reaching into any deep arcane list for my FPs. I’m going to try to keep it pretty simple.

Ignore this if you want, and forgive me if this sounds preachy or sanctimonious, but I suspect that our revulsion over the last nine months will be repeated in four years if we don’t start to force change. And if our revulsion becomes the norm, then how can we hope to bring the country together?

First of all, we have got to start making our First Duty to be to the Truth. I know some wit said “truth is the first victim of any campaign,” but I don’t think we should be so casual with the Truth.

It’s not good enough to spin, or to interpret, but we should just speak to the Truth. If your party, your candidate, your issue, your organization is reluctant to deal with Truth, then there has to be a consequence for that. We can’t continue to return corrupt people to government and places of power, and then wonder why government is corrupt.

And secondly, can we re-prioritize Service? On this week, when we honor our veterans, let’s honor their service and sacrifice by remembering that nobody ever took an oath to a party or president — they took oaths to the Constitution and served for the person on their left and on their right.

Maybe I’m making too much of this; then again, maybe we’ve all just lowered our expectations too far.

There is no Superman to save us from ourselves, though, if we continue to let the political season be this trivial.

Michael Alcorn is a music teacher and fitness instructor who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. He graduated from Alameda High School and the University of Colorado-Boulder.


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