Friday, August 8, 2008

The Crab Grass Factor

At this time of the year crab grass becomes evident. In April the ads talk about putting down a pre-emergent product to keep crab grass from germinating. Now it is clear why. Given moisture and space the tentacles of grass will spread and crowd out other desirable grasses. Then when frost comes the plants die and the lawn appears to have a multitude of spaces where grass used to be. The key is to fertilize the lawn and plant new seed thickly so the crab grass plant cannot take over.

In politics, a lie if not answered will grow to expand all the space it can fill. That is why politicians often spread wild accusations hoping that some of them will stick. Equally, those attacked often appear to be simply responding with answers even though it prolongs the shelve-life of the accusation. Untruths ignored grow just like crab grass until they are forgotten and disappear leaving only a gaping hole where truth might have resided.

Religious communities often spread lies about one another; sometimes they do not have to since the behavior of the group, be they Christian, Muslim or Jewish, makes telling lies unnecessary. When i was growing up the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a scurrilous anti-semitic bit of propaganda often made its appearance in one form or another in our church. No one knew enough to call it a lie until finally one day someone spoke the truth. The same was true with notions about Catholics; we just knew they were out to destroy the Protestant world we knew. Such notions had been around America since the founding of the nation and were partially blunted by the election of John Kennedy.

In this political season rumors and untruths about Islam abound given the fact that Barack Obama will be the Democrat's nominee for President. I like to think we are wiser than we were in 1960, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Barack Obama is not a Muslim no matter what some people say or think. Knowing the truth is important; telling the truth is even more important. Not to speak out when we know untruths are being passed around is cowardly, but often excused because many people do not know better. By November the crab grass will be gone; let's hope the lies are too answered by courageous people will to speak out.


Robert M. Randolph