9/11 Fourteen Years Later and the State of Our Nation’s Unity

“The sky was falling and streaked with blood.

I heard you calling me then you disappeared into the dust

Up the stairs, into the fire

I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher.” – Bruce Springsteen “Into the Fire” from “The Rising”

I opened the course I am teaching this semester on international security policy with a discussion about 9/11/01. It is difficult to believe that it has been fourteen years since that faithful day when our country was attached. Not sense December 7, 1941 have we experienced an attack of such magnitude on our homeland. And this time it was not a state attacking us, but a non-state actor. The world changed on 9/11.

It is even more shocking to know that most of the students in my class were four years old when this tragic day fell upon our country. I think most of us who can, will remember the sense of disbelief, outrage, violation and venerability we felt that morning as the twin towers crumbled into dust and the pentagon was in flames. I also remember the sense of pride and awe I felt when I learned that the passengers and crew on the fourth flight had fought to the death – given their lives so that others might not be harmed.

Sadly, most first year college students have no memory of that day. What is lost in this blank is a memory of unusual national unity and pride. No matter one’s political party, creed, race, gender, national origin etc. all of us who consider ourselves citizens of the United States were united that morning and for quite a few months that followed. Today, most of our young people have grown up in their country while at war. What they remember most now are the vitriolic conflicts that we witness everyday between Republicans and Democrats; the name-calling and anger between the left and the right. The terrible recent scenes of violence – police against citizens; citizens against police, and citizen against citizen. Racial conflicts and tensions over who is really an American dominate the memories of young people.

The presidential election is fifteen months away. Fifteen months! Will we have to witness continued political nastiness and national disunion for fifteen more months? Both sides seem intent on throwing as many attention and media grabbing hyperbole cluster bombs at each other as possible. What does this do for the tone, setting, and understanding of politics and national (dis) unity that our young people experience? Where is the reasoned measured discourse about policy and solutions that we so desperately need in our country? With the scorched earth campaigns of the left and the right heating up more and more what will eventually heal our nation and bring us together as a people – as a community? After all of this political fighting is over in November 2016 where will the hope be for common ground?

Clinton and Trump are both formidable political animals. If they each emerge, as their party’s nominees will either one of them ever be able to govern? Particularly if in the end if what they leave us with is a “house divided” and a deeper political animosity in our civil society than we have perhaps ever seen? If so the consequences may be catastrophic for our nation and for future generations. I know many of you feel we are already there – in a condition of irreparable disunity. Democracy is rough and tumble. Politics is a knife fight.

I hope, however, we have not reached the point of irreparable disunity and I pray that it does not take another major catastrophe or another attack on our nation to bring our country back together. I remember Benjamin and Jeremy Wise, two brothers, Arkansas natives, and Hendrix alumni who gave their lives in Afghanistan for the defense and unity of our nation. Let us not waste their sacrifice.

During this long season and in these campaigns for the presidency and other political offices we desperately need voices of reason and unity. A wise man once said “you have to live your way into new ways of thinking and living in community because you cannot think yourself into new ways of living and being in community.” Our best thinking has gotten us into this state of division. God help our nation if we do not begin to witness acts of leadership and hear statements that signal a renewed hope for and commitment to unity. Bruce Springsteen also said, “What if what you do to survive kills the things you love? Fear’s a powerful thing. It can turn your heart black you can trust. It’ll take your God filled soul, and fill it with devils and dust!”




A New View of Life

I find Great Peace in Richard Rohr’s Mediations
Posted on August 21, 2015 by Tim Cloyd
Most of us live our lives full of unspoken anxieties, worries, and fears. Most of the time for most of us these are “First World Problems.” Here Richard Rohr through one of Thomas Merton’s poems teaches us how to put life, stuff, people, things, and events in the perspective that God would have us put them into.

I pray today that we all find this peace and perspective! Tim

What follows is by Richard Rohr.
First and Second Halves of Life, Part II
Friday, August 21, 2015
Today we will look at the latter part of Merton’s poem, “When in the Soul of the Serene Disciple,” [1] a map for the second half of life. My commentary is in italics.

It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.

This is the necessary stumbling stone that makes you loosen your grip on the first half of life and takes away any remaining superior self-image. (Merton is calling this crossover point “lucky” and surely sees it as part of necessary and good suffering that the soul needs in order to mature.)

Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a memorandum.
There are no ways,
No methods to admire

Don’t look forward or backward in your mind for explanations or consolations; don’t try to hide behind any secret special way that you have practiced and now can recommend to all! (As we preachy types always feel we must do.) Few certitudes now, just naked faith.

Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.

This is nothing you have come to or crawled down to by effort or insight. You were taken there, and your “there” is precisely nothing. (That is, it is “everything,” but not what you expected everything to be!) This kind of God is almost a disappointment, at least to those who were in any way “using” God up to now. There is nothing to claim anymore. God is not a possession of any type, not for your own ego or morality or superiority or for control of the data. This is the nada of John of the Cross and the mystics, and this is Jesus on the cross. Yet it is a peaceful nothingness and a luminous darkness, while still an “affliction.”

What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men [and women] without [their] visions.

In the second half of the spiritual life, you are not making choices as much as you are being guided, taught, and led–which leads to “choiceless choices.” These are the things you cannot not do because they are your destiny and your deepest desire. Your driving motives are no longer money, success, or the approval of others. You have found your sacred dance.

Now your only specialness is in being absolutely ordinary and even “choiceless,” beyond the strong opinions, needs, preferences, and demands of the first half of life. You do not need your “visions” anymore; you are happily participating in God’s vision for you. With that, the wonderful dreaming and the dreamer that we were in our early years have morphed into Someone Else’s dream for us. We move from the driver’s seat to being a happy passenger, one who is still allowed to make helpful suggestions to the Driver. We are henceforth “a serene disciple,” living in our own unique soul as never before, yet paradoxically living within the mind and heart of God, and taking our place in the great and general dance. [2]
Gateway to Silence
“We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time.” –Thomas Merton

My Take on Trump’s Offensiveness, Political Correctness, and Vindictive Protectiveness


Changes to this fall’s Syllabus and Suggested Web pages

I am making several changes to the various syllabi for the fall and will post new pages with the new one’s once I am finished. In the meantime I encourage you to check out two of my other web pages. The first is my personal page to get to the pages you can go to timcloyd.wordpress.com and cloydassociatesstrategic.me. Check them out

This fall will be very busy but fun

I am looking forward to teaching three courses this fall: The TEC- Subversive Citizen with Professor Norman Beohm; Politics 100 Security; and Politics 285 Leadership. In addition to these course I have several publishing projects and of course a great deal of consulting demands!

Should be fun!!!!

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