I recently asked who would like to continue receiving From My Corner, my occasional social and political commentaries. Out of a couple of hundred I send them to, eight or ten responded with “Yes.” Everybody else was silent.
May I suggest that if you do not want to receive them, you answer with a concrete “No?” Otherwise, I’ll assume you’re hanging on.
Following is my most recent commentary. Perhaps it’ll help you decide.
FROM MY CORNER
Where is America’s Soul?
Last Century, our 20th, the writer D.H. Lawrence wrote, “The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.”
I doubt this is how you view America. It is far from the concept of an American Soul that I hold in my mind’s eye. However, I acknowledge Mr. Lawrence’s points. They deserve our investigation, as we globally maneuver our way through the isolated connection with one another in this biological reality of Corona Virus.
Let’s study Mr. Lawrence’s comments.
“Hard.” – Our unruly land, America, having been able to survive its first quarter of a millennium, perhaps that’s what Lawrence meant by “hard.” All our great grand parents had to carve their way, and therefore ours, through three thousand miles of wilderness. The survivors were tough people. They had to be to have so tenaciously persisted. Hard? Yes; they and we are probably, from this perspective, pretty hard.
“Isolate” – What a fascinating trait that is for Lawrence to emphasize about Americans. Perhaps he meant the individual innovative survival nature we inherited from our ancestors. We’re known for our crankiness, not for any huddling tendency.
“Stoic” – Now that’s tricky. Webster says it’s a wise person’s ability to be led by reason, to live virtuously and free from passion, accepting calmly whatever happens. If that’s what Lawrence meant for us, I think he missed the mark. Our passions range from a Latin-like heat to a Soviet-like super patriotism. Virtuous reason is an ideal target we scalawag Americans frequently miss.
“Killer” – Based on our ownership of weapons and our enthusiasm for a daunting military dominance, we have to admit we know a bit about violence. Our unique fascination with it as a social option when the intellectual going gets tough is well documented. We’re not famous for our diplomatic acumen. We didn’t, after all, negotiate with the original American native population as much as we just physically destroyed 95% of them. Today, one calls such an act genocide. But, we treat it almost as an historically organic byproduct of our unbridled enthusiasm for corporate adventurism.
Even our new Catholic Christian president, Mr. Biden, accepts the financial defense foundation of our capitalist economy. And all the rest of us authorize that formidable institution. It’s a peculiar philosophy for a peace-loving Christian culture. Inconsistency, however, Lawrence might have noticed, also appears to be a valid American trait. It requires personal interpretation to tie meaning to Lawrence’s definition of Americans. I’m not certain mine makes much sense. It seems a bit strained.
Mr. Biden just sold us on newly assessing our American Soul. Well and good. I propose, though, that that requires a deeper glance into our philosophy of life. Other nations chide us for promoting ourselves as an empathetic, compassionate nation, while our weapons arm most of the planet’s countries. We do, after all, still invest more money in war weaponry than the next seven to ten nations.
That’s a complex position from which to to sell the world the alleged ideal of American Christian non-violence, isn’t it?
How about that as the first step to a reassessment of our America Soul?
And with that, I wish you all a very happy New Year.