“WHO CONTROLS THE “WHETHER?”
1999 is in its infancy. Outside fierce winter storms are laying waste to communities across the nation. On television, political commentators are dishing out bland, banal, boring and superfluous gobbledygook that passes for certain “knowledge.” While some of the worst winter [weather] in recent memory rages through the country, selected members of the [U.S.] House of Representatives and Senate are public debating the mechanics of an impeachment trial for President Clinton.
My husband finds all this posturing and pontificating entertaining and revelatory. Frankly, I’m surprised that all of these long-winded gasbags haven’t floated off into orbit, somewhere beyond the stratosphere. What I do find awesome is the majesty of God, existing as a surreal backdrop to the heavy handed and egregious behavior of men who think they’re powerful.
Here in the region where we live, known as the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, an ice storm has brought daily activity to a halt. Tree branches and power lines are laden with icy sculptures that hold our lives in the balance. Thin sheets of frozen precipitation cover our streets, roads and bridges, mocking human ingenuity. Who controls the whether? [Emphasis added.]
Barely into the New Year, the Lord has spoken, once again. His message is simple but potent: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10)
While Geraldo Rivera, Larry King, Tim Russert, Juan Williams, Cokie Roberts, Gwen Ifill, George Will, Sally Quinn, Eleanor Clift, Sam Donaldson and Clarence Page, et al, debate what could or should happen in the Senate, vis-à-vis the impeachment debacle as well as the status of the First Couple’s marriage, a more fundamental situation unfolds around us: it is the inexorable passing of time, how it affects every aspect of our lives and ultimately how little control we have over it.
This season of winter, with its bone-chilling cold, geological hazards precipitated by earthquakes, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, ice, snow, sleet, freezing rain and high velocity winds reminds those paying attention that our lives evolve daily, quite literally minute by minute. We can’t program the weather; we can’t control the whether, much less the will of God. In the overall scheme of things, what the Senate will do to President Clinton will depend on both the weather and the whether.
Should gusty arctic winds in tandem with heavy snow, blizzard conditions and ice continue to shut down airports around the country, Washington, D.C. may become inaccessible to the players who fancy themselves arbiters of contemporary morality. The egotism, which characterizes these self-appointed “do-gooders”, pales in comparison to the weather. What good is self-righteous indignation and arrogant superiority if Mother Nature gets her habits on and wreaks havoc with man-made plans? Who, I ask, controls the whether?
If Osama bin Laden and his ilk, Saddam Hussein or some other fringe group should choose this time of national importunity to launch a terrorist offensive against the United States of America, the order of the day will no longer be when but whether an impeachment trial is the appropriate course of action in the face of clear national security risks. Does the membership of two prominent federal legislators, one of whom is the Senate Majority Leader, in the Council of Conservative Citizens [emphasis added] not deserve closer media scrutiny? Can the rumpled, weathered and widowed chair of the House Judiciary Committee define his extramarital liaison as a “youthful indiscretion” because he was 41 years old when it happened? (his words, not mine)? Again, I ask, who controls the whether?
Whatever motivates these folks, consumed as they are with their own sense of omnipotence, omniscience and infallibility, their individual answers to the following question will be both insightful and revealing: “Who controls the whether?”