The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Garrison Keillor: What we fear is arrogance

with 3 comments

A quote from Garrison Keillor, here, that captures the nobler strain of American foreign policy (and, for the record, I don’t mean Democratic or Republican, but that of humility and respect that is often—as now—drowned out by jingoism):

DGarrison Keilloremocrats are thought to be weak on foreign policy—fearful of the use of American power in the world—but what we fear is arrogance. History shows so clearly the stupidities of 1915—old men in power with little notion of where they were headed, afraid to betray uncertainty or fear, willing to sacrifice a generation of young men so that old men could parade around in their plumed helmets for a few more years—which is also the stupidity of Vietnam and is still with us today …

We prefer to stand with the tradition of Adams and Franklin and Jefferson, who made the voyage across the Atlantic and polished their French and learned to make their way by their wits and not by throwing money around or at the point of a cannon. America has produced great travelers and explorers and missionaries. They didn’t stand behind a podium and thunder and threaten and strike a belligerent pose for domestic consumption, they went out into the world with courage and curiosity to take it on its own terms. They looked, they listened, they learned to walk lightly.

-Garrison Keillor: Homegrown Democrat, p. 213 and p. 217

Ah. Indeed.

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Written by Monte

September 3, 2007 at 11:26 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Garrison Keillor is always a class act! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

    Monte Says: Thank you, sandi! Perhaps I’m just part of that generation (tho’ GK is a little older than I), but he often speaks my language.


    September 13, 2007 at 10:21 am

  2. Monte,

    Interesting points…”forever the opposition party” just made me have an “aha” moment!

    I’ve had questions about Jesus’s saying “my kingdom is not of this world” and the fact that people often use that phrase to avoid engagement of political discussion. Well, now I’m thinking his saying that was not to avoid discussion (nor was it some way of saying “this world will be burned and destroyed completely” as the dispensationals say), but he was saying just as you said probably – my kingdom is revolutionary…”to you my kingdom would seem backwards” “you are not ready for this” etc…I don’t know…maybe that is more what he meant…hm…i’ll have to check into the context!

    Monte Says: Actually, I think you’ve touched on something very important, and consistent with Paul’s view in Philippians 3 that “our citizenship is in heaven.” Just before that, he’s said “take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you,” suggesting that those who would follow Jesus live according to the pattern of the world to come (for they are citizens of it) rather than the pattern of this world. I suspect this is also at the root of his “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female” argument in Galatians 3 and Colossians 3. I found some really wonderful thinking on this a while back, and quoted it in a sermon called Citizens of Another Nation. Listen to these words from Daniel Clendennin at Journey With Jesus: “Christians are geographic, cultural, national and ethnic egalitarians; for them there is no geographic center of the world, but only a constellation of points equidistant from the heart of God. … because of this, Christian global vision asks that you care as much about any and every country and its people as you do your own. Christians grieve the deaths of 35,000 Iraqis as much as 2,300 Americans, or lament the human tragedy of the Iranian and Pakistani earthquakes as much as that of Hurricane Katrina. This implies that your politics become reoriented, non-aligned, and unpredictable by normal canons.”
    I love it!


    September 6, 2007 at 1:36 pm

  3. Hey there!

    This was so interesting. While I am not a registered democrat, I appreciate this piece. It seems to me to be right on and is one thing I really appreciate about the democratic party…too bad we can’t get the best of both (or all) worlds here…it should be the Christians who represent the best of both worlds…ah well…one day!

    Monte Says: Hey! I’m not a Democrat either – though I might change my registration to go to the Iowa Caucuses in January. I think you put your finger on something, though: Seems to me that if we follow the passions of Jesus where we can, that we likely won’t fit comfortably in either group. But Keillor’s comments are a good example of a way of seeing – humility – that certainly seems reflective of the way I want to be. So, in that category, at least, I can cheer for Democrats. I have a hunch, though, that following Jesus makes one forever the opposition party. After all, in both parties, wealth and influence play a huge role, and that role is always a foreign language to Jesus.
    Great to hear from you!


    September 5, 2007 at 12:22 pm

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