ISN'T IT ABOUT TIME?
by Jay La Suer
April 1, 1998
In the pan-handle of Texas and
southern to central Oklahoma, the dirt is a reddish brown; more red than brown.
I remember as a child, walking barefoot down a dusty, dirt road in Oklahoma with
my father, to my grandmother's house. It was a hot summer day and the dust of
the road was so hot it was nearly all I could do to walk on it. But, it was
summer and all little boys prefer to go barefoot, and don't seem to mind the
dust as it collects on their feet. As I walked along, I held my father's hand.
We had been talking about a variety of subjects that I, as an eight year old
boy, was interested in.
As I held my father's hand, my
fingers felt a ring. Oh, I'd seen the ring on his finger for as long as I could
remember, but for some unknown reason, I turned and looked closely at it. It was
an eagle with two heads, each head appeared to be looking in opposite
directions. Now remember, that I'd seen a lot of birds in my short life, but I'd
never seen one with two heads. I turned to my father and asked him why the bird
on the ring on his finger had two heads.
Daddy, as I called him, chuckled -
then stopped and squatted down to talk to me. He explained that his ring
represented the Scottish Rite. He knew that I was aware that he was a Mason, but
that was about it. He went on to explain to me, as he squatted in the middle of
the dusty road, that Masons were a special group of men. He said that they were
honest and upright. That they were his brothers, and if he ever needed any help,
his Masonic brothers would help him, or if one of his Masonic brothers needed
help, he would help them.
He said that Masons believed in
liberty, high morals and justice, and that many a famous American was a Mason.
He began to name famous Masons to me: George Washington, Patrick Henry, Gene
Autry and President Truman. It was Masons, he said, that helped to
make America the great nation that it was. It was Masons that wrote the
Declaration of Independence and played a major role in writing the Constitution…
It was then I decided that, someday, I would be a Mason. Yes, I wanted to be one
of these special men.
As a young man, I petitioned my
father's Blue Lodge, and reached the sublime degree of Master Mason. Later, I
petitioned the Scottish Rite, but I never forgot what my father had said about
these men that are Masons.
As I grew older and had children,
and my children had children, my father and I had another conversation that I
remember well. Dad made the comment that he felt sorry for my children and
grandchildren. He said that America was not what it used to be. He said that the
rights of the individual American, the ethics and morality of this nation had
been gradually eroded to a point that he barely recognized America today, when
he compared it to the days when he was a young man.
Let's consider for a moment the
plight of America. Dad was right! America has changed, and not for the better.
Yes, there have been warning signs, changes in attitude, ethics and morals. And,
it's been so gradual that we, as Americans, have gone along with the flow.
This ship of state, America the
beautiful, the greatest nation that has ever graced the world, is in the process
of committing Suicide! America's citizens laugh, play, work and stroll through
life with little realization of the danger lurking in the water through which
this mighty ship of state sails. We've seen all the warning signs, yet somehow
we've been able to find a way to ignore them, a way to brush the warnings aside.
"Don't ask, don't tell".… "Just go
for it"…. "As long as they don't bother me, I don't care what they do"…. "If
we'd legalize it, our crime rate would go down"…. "Sure, it’s the oldest
profession, but it doesn't hurt anybody, why should it be a crime?" "What you
don't know can't hurt you"…. "I don't care, as long as it doesn't hurt me"…. "Go
along and get along"…. "Just go with the flow"…. "I'm okay, you're okay!" The
list could go on for pages, but one fact rings through. We have found a myriad
of ways to rationalize behavior that erodes the morality and ethics of this
great nation and its citizens.
Are we as Masons being faithful to
America? If we ignore the decay of our country's morals, are we being faithful
to our nation, our families, ourselves, Masonry and our God? Can we continue to
look the other way and claim to be living up to our responsibilities as men, as
citizens of America and to the promises of Masonry?
Not a day passes that we don't read
about the moral and ethical decay of this great nation. Murder of children by
children; what a dastardly crime! Yet it occurs with regularity and is mentioned
only for a few days on the evening news. The pervasive use of illegal drugs has
invaded our grade schools, our middle schools and our high schools, but somehow,
we find a way to turn away from such stench, and ignore it. Well, it wasn't my
family, my child or grandchild, it could never happen to us. And America walks
merrily on its way down the path to destruction.
There are many excuses to avoid
becoming involved in correcting the moral and ethical decay of which I speak,
but, most Masons I have spoken to shy away from getting involved. Their excuse
is simple. Masonry and Masons should not become involved in politics! Oh really?
Journey back in time and make the same statement to our brothers, George
Washington, Patrick Henry, Douglas MacArthur and Harry Truman. Then,
let us hang our heads in shame!
Where would this great nation be
without the personal political involvement of these brothers? None of these
brothers turned their backs and ignored the political, ethical and moral
corruption of their time. They met the challenge! They risked their lives, their
careers, their standing in the community and their reputations. Are we any less
responsible to our nation and ourselves?
Evidence points to the moral and
ethical corruption of America at the highest office in this nation, yet somehow
the people of America don't seem to mind. As a matter of fact, they become
easily annoyed when such evidence is reported. And, even worse, that person's
popularity has gained on a daily basis. Has America lost its conscience? Has our
moral compass gone haywire? Do we no longer recognize the difference between
right and wrong? God help us if we don't!
said it best: "Be faithful to your country and prefer its dignity and honor to
any degree of popularity and honor to yourself." Men achieve greatness by their
deeds and actions when all odds seem to be against them! Greatness comes in all
sizes and shapes. A simple "NO, IT ISN'T RIGHT!" is a comment of moral truth
when all others seem to go with the flow. Sometimes it takes all the courage one
can muster up to make a stand against moral and ethical corruption.
Its time that we as Masons stand up
for what is right, to say "NO!", to refuse to go along to get along, to go
against the flow! Its time we live up to the teachings of our fraternity and
begin to turn this stampede towards moral and ethical decay that has engulfed
this nation…. Or shall we simply walk down the path towards ruin with our mental
blinders on, and prove once and for all that ignorance is bliss? I, for one, say
Don't believe for a moment that one
person can't make a difference. Let us, one at a time, begin to take a stand for
right. Believe in our nation, in our ability, and one at a time we will become a
mighty force against this epidemic of moral and ethical decay that is sweeping
our nation. One at a time we can become a mighty legion to turn the tide! We can
live up to the teachings and promises of Masonry and become leaders of our
nation, not followers. Remember, when one follows, the view never changes! Get
out in front and see the bright sun of morality and ethics. See the promise of
the founding fathers of our nation, and teach by example, the promises of
We cannot escape or hide from
history! We will be remembered for what we've accomplished. We will also be
remembered for what we have allowed to transpire. History will remember what we,
as Americans and Masons have done to maintain the honor, dignity, ethics and
morals of our great nation.
If we have the power to change,
and, be assured my brothers, we do have the power, then we bear the
responsibility to change the corruption that is staining this nation that
Americans have died to preserve. We bear the responsibility to not allow moral
and ethical decay to accomplish what tanks, bombs and bullets have failed to
stated: "Morality is a force. It is the magnetic attraction of the heart toward
Truth and Virtue. The needle, imbued with this mystic property, and pointing
unerringly to the north, carries the mariner to safety over the trackless ocean,
through storm and darkness, until his glad eyes behold the beneficent beacons
that welcome him to safe and hospitable harbor."
Isn't it about time we walked in
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