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In The City of God Augustine says this about kingdoms where there is no justice, I quote the entire chapter:


Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.”

And indeed America, despite it being a glorious nation, has at times been little more than a marauding band of theives… whether this be Andrew Jackson going against the decision of the the Supreme Court to uphold the nation’s treaty with the Cherokee, Roosevelt taking Panama away from Colombia, the first air-raid bombing (Ocotal, Nicaragua in 1927, when under bad intelligence they bombed a town looking for the bandido Sandino and his men… the official report reads, fewer of the town’s citizens would’ve been killed had they not run out into the streets as we were bombing and strifing the area), whether it be redefining the Geneva convention because affronts to human dignity are too vague.

And given this, given these abuses, given how at times we are a nation of robbers who do not act according to the dictates of justice. I qoute two passages from a Fourth of July speech, given on the Fifth of July by a man who had first-hand knowledge of how unjust our nation could be.

Frederick Douglass

Americans, you boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization and your pure Christianity while the whole political power of the nation is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three million of your countrymen. You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, but the fugitives from your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot and kill. You’re all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or for Ireland but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America. You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a 3-penny tax on tea, yet wring the last hard-earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country.

You profess to believe that of one blood God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of the Earth and have commanded all men everywhere to love one another. Yet you notoriously hate all men whose skins are not colored like your own.

Despite this, despite the contradiction, despite the violence… Douglass concludes his speech:

Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably work The downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from the Declaration of Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world, and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are, distinctly heard on the other. The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen, in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God.”

The great idea of the United States of America is not dead… that we are and can be a self-correcting nation, that dissenters, so long as their dissent is valid and articulated well can not only be tolerated but listened to, that Justice is a virtue to which the nation as a whole aspires to carry out, and does not shy away from, that what matters more than power, more than business is truth, the truth that all humans are created equal and deserve equal respect, equal care, equal opportunities. These are the ideals that our nation is founded upon, these are the ideals which we should all strive to uphold.

These, I trust, are the ideals that those who go to the polls on Tuesday will consider when they cast their ballot.



this has nothing to do with my post above, but i now have eight pumpkin pies cooling in the kitchen, a few have something like a streusel topping, others simply have lonely walnuts floating in them, others are plain. they’re my first foray into pumpkin pies. t didn’t let me make my own crust, which i appreciate, but it makes me feel like a real big cheater. on the plus side, i have time to work on one of the three articles i am currently working on.

mmmmmmmmmmmm, yummy.

i haven’t read your post yet, which i’m sure will require a more thoughtful response. :)

Not canned pumpkin? I think I never have had such a pie.