Integrity, the Goat and Revolt…

My mother liked to tell the story of her mother and the goat.

Her family were farmers and as she told it, her mother once tied a goat that she wanted to sell to a for-sale sign in the front of the house. A woman stopped by and asked my Grandmother how much she wanted for the animal and also asked her “what’s the matter with it?” She told the woman “five dollars, and there’s nothing wrong with it”. As the woman began examining the beast she asked again “are you sure there’s nothing wrong with it?” Grandma answered. “Lady, when I die someday and I get to the pearly-gates, I don’t want a goat blocking my way in”. I remember distinctly, asking what she meant by that, the first time I heard it as a child because my mother answered with a phrase that she repeated to me over the years and has stayed with me: “If you have nothing else, have the courage of your convictions”

Notwithstanding the religious reference… Integrity…there is a hell of a philosophy there. If you were to dangle any kind of religion before me, you wouldn’t get a nibble. But this life as some sort of test?…I’ll bite on that one. It has something to do with free will. When can’t you afford to live as your conscience tells you? And how far will you go to assure the entrance into your own personal heaven? I look at people like Rachel Corrie and Fredrick Toben and so many others that in these troubled times have the courage of their convictions and are afraid of no retribution for acting on their views. Those that face imprisonment and death itself for what they know is right should humble us all.

I have noticed an edge in the landscape of the alternative news and opinion pages. That edge is becoming more and more distinct as we see the world for what it actually is, and share our visions. That edge is revolution. Few if any have yet to call us over it. But I fear it is not the civil revolution that we all preach and hope against hope will defeat the powers of those in charge at this moment in history. It is the violent one. I am reminded of the scene from “V” in which the head of the police when asked what he thinks will happen next, replies that someone will “make a mistake”. Too many people out there like that movie…and for angry reasons. If it happens that way, for whatever reasons…food riots…bank riots…we can only hope that it isn’t taken down to that violent level of the oppressors themselves and that the goat of our convictions is not forsaken.


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