Saturday, December 8, 2012

Welcome to the White House

Welcome to the White House.  Or not..

The welcome mat is out on Pennsylvania Avenue.  There is ample seating in the form of double benches just waiting for high ranking dignitaries, heads of state and admiring tourists to come take a load off.

The nicely rusted cast iron frame gives it a rather authentic early American look, don'tcha think?  Neat part is the area beneath for stowing your luggage.  Nice touch.  But do be careful when sliding over to chat with the person next to you.  Splinters could do you in.  

I'm not sure who was president when these benches were installed or last repaired.  I didn't go looking for a ratty example in order to make an erroneous general case.  All the benches looked like this one, pretty much...  No irony intended.  

Pennsylvania Avenue.  Capitol Hill in full view.  Up there in its splendid isolation behind its green plastic fence.  Hiding in plain sight behind AREA CLOSED signs.  

Obviously, there is another population that knows these streets when the limos and Chevrolet Suburbans and Ford Explorers with bulletproof glass are parked for the day.  

I like the KENNEDY fire hydrant cast in Elmira, New York.  I wish another Kennedy who once traveled Pennsylvania Avenue were here to see and offer some wisdom.  Wouldn't actually make much difference which Kennedy.  Almost any Kennedy would do today, methinks...

On my way back to the west end of the National Mall, I passed another one of those concrete planters, this one adorned by the ironic cast-offs of casual visitors.  Which one was actually the "transient" here?  Makes one wonder. 

Again, that question of what visitors to our country might see if they were on foot and taking it all in for the first time. 

Nowhere did there seem to be such a mixed message as the Constitution Avenue entrance to the Ellipse, that large lawn with the oval-shaped drive between the White House and the Washington Monument.

Why, for God's sake, is a LAWN off limits without an appointment?  The White House to the north is across Pennsylvania Avenue and surrounded by its own iron fence and high level security patrol. 
Could we do a tackier job of saying:

"Get Out.  Keep Out.  Stay Away.  You Don't Belong Here?"  

My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing...   

I pray for a resurgence in American pride.  Pride that manifests itself in humility and cooperation.  Humility that rests on the confidence that our system and high ideals actually lead to more security, more tranquility, more peace than hiding behind the barricades of fear.

We raised our daughter to be a whole person by treating her like one--even when she wasn't one yet.  Why are we surprised that when we treat the rest of the world like enemies and terrorists the world seems to respond in kind?  

Leviticus, Jesus, Apostle Paul and YHWH all agree:

1)  Love God above all.  2)  Love neighbor and self in equal measure.  There is no such thing as a one-sided coin.

Now, where was that WELCOME mat I last saw years ago?  Does anyone remember seeing it around here?  I kinda miss it these days. 

Pastor Roger

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