Tuesday, August 8, 2017

No One Needs to Speak English

No one needs to speak English to come here.
Soon enough, they'll learn.
And so will their children.
And children's children.

And soon enough the native tongue is forgotten.
Gramma and Grampa still use it.
But no longer the kids.
And no longer the grandkids.

Oh, they learn a few choice phrases:
How to cuss and call someone an asshole.
But it's all English by now.
The native tongue is forgotten.

No one needs to speak English to come here.
Soon enough, they'll learn.
And so will their children.
And children's children.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Disliking or Liking tRump

Accurately, someone noted that I don't like tRump ... "really, really, really don't like him." Which is true, of course, but if that were the sum total of the deal, I wouldn't be worth my salt.

And if it were only a matter of liking or disliking, who really could care?

If such a person were my neighbor, someone I didn't like, I'd likely step around them and try not to engage. I might well conclude that the person in question is, in their own right, a good person, with family and friends, worth and work, a value to many others.
We've all known folks we just couldn't like ... call it chemistry, call it primordial nonsense, whatever ... it might be a teacher, a classmate, a student, a neighbor, even a family member ... we just don't like them. Maybe we put up with them, try our best, and console ourselves with the simple reality that this reality is all there is, and all there is is what's likely to be.

But me not liking tRump?

Is that the question?

In another world, perhaps, I'd like the man, if not as a friend, at least as an entertaining buffoon, but never to be trusted.

But like or dislike is not the issue.

Danger is the issue.

tRump is clear and present danger to my nation, and to my world ... he's a threat to all because of his pathological lying, his bluffing, a penchant for intimidation, his greed, his malice, his need for sycophants, his abuse of women and his general mean-spirit.

That he should be praised by so many Christians only heightens my concern ... but it's not the first time that Christians have been mesmerized by power and money.

The Jerusalem crowds decided that Pilate and his Temple cronies were right, and so the crowd joined in the chorus to "crucify him."

Down through the ages, history makes clear, painfully clear, that Christians have often been on the wrong side of history ... from the flat-earth gang to those who thought slavery was a godsend, Christians have backed the wrong horse, and have sided with evil.

So it is ... and whether I like tRump or not is beside the point.

What I care about is the welfare of my nation - equality, liberty and justice (which is not about punishment, but recalibrating the social scales so that everyone has a fair chance, and those who can't make it will be well protected and cared for).

I care about our children and their schools ... women and their health ... our environment and our food supply ... I care about international relations, our treaties and our allies, and our enemies, too.

In all of this, I find tRump to be a clear and present danger, and more than a danger, but rather an active element in the deconstruction of our civil rights and the diminution of our democracy.

Whatever feelings I might have for the man are quite irrelevant ... it's the issues, the programs, the people he's appointed to critical agencies, and his permission to white supremacists and evangelicals to be as hateful as they want, and to arm themselves to the hilt.

He's a bad man ... and his cronies are crooks, if not in the flesh, then in the spirit, for they rob and pillage and destroy all along the way, in order to enhance their own bank accounts and promote their own safety, abandoning much of the nation.

So, that's the deal, as I see it.

I'd like to think that Jeremiah might pat me on the back and encourage me in my writing to stay the course, pay attention, be a man of prayer, read and study, and speak out where there is hurt against the vulnerable, where the powerful are stealing, where justice is threatened and peace ignored.

And if I'm wrong, then say a prayer for me, and offer pity ... defriend me, or simply scroll down and pay no attention.

With that in mind, until I sense something different in my bones, I will keep on writing.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Critique of Capitalism


Capitalism pits the worker against the fellow worker, and finally the worker against even herself and the world around her.

It breeds desires that can never be fulfilled, yet are constantly used as life-goals, and creates a dislike for those who work along side, as threats to one's own advancement, and then a dislike for the boss, as well, who, in turn, dislikes the worker, for fear that the worker will fail to achieve the goals set by the boss, and make the boss look bad, who in turn will look bad in the eyes of the owners, who, themselves, are striving against impossible goals of achievement and acquisition, in competition with other owners who always pose a threat with their desires for achievement and acquisition, desires that are out of bounds, unchecked, and never to be fulfilled, because they're artificial, shallow, and self-serving.

Capitalism is a system fundamentally opposed to God's order of creation ... wherein work is purposeful for the worker, and ends regularly with rest and reflection, with room for compassion and mercy and kindness, and a commitment to the notion that all work is work for others, as well as for myself, that whatever I owe to my family, I owe to the world.

What is happening now in America is truly King of the Hill madness, as the young shove aside the elderly, the healthy push away the sick, adults disregard children, the powerful abuse the weak ... families are fractured, the social contract is cancelled, kindness is termed weakness, compassion is perceived as a waste of time, and within this mix of tension and fear, all the usual suspects of sin appear: racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia ... and various additions as the weary human seeks some form of solace, pleasure and escape.

And into this bizarre mix, the Prosperity Gospel, which is no gospel at all, but a tyrant shredding the soul of those who buy into it, because the tyrant of prosperity allows no rest, no reflection, no compassion for those who work alongside ... no compassion for the sick, the aged, the infirm, the poor, who are regarded only as drains upon the system, slugs in the way, disrupters of "my" desires to achieve and acquire.

That the Christian Community has failed to critique Capitalism is Christianity's greatest failure ... that primal failure that cripples the church and renders it incapable of truly proclaiming the Kingdom of God, the forgiveness of sin, the reconciliation of life, and the love that makes all things new.

The Christianity Community devolves into an evangelical "salvation machine," getting people to heaven, or a dispenser of psychological nostrums to ease the tension of a capitalism no one wants to confront, or a "charity machine," doing good things, promoting "social justice," patting itself on the back, and still failing to deal with the central issues that destroy life.

For me, there is always hope ... in that human beings ultimately tire of their sin, and seek something beyond themselves.

The quite voices of reason and hope are always there, and so are the materials of faith - the prophets, preachers and poets ... wanderers and writers, people of prayer and mindfulness ... those who seek the Kingdom of God above all else ... in every religion, in every mosque, temple and church ... in quiet corners and on the streets, with those who speak truth to power and confront the evils of the day, without flinching, with fear and trepidation, of course, but with a courage created in the fires of honesty, humility and hope, grounded in the great Mystery of the Spiritual Presence and its boundless hope.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dimwits and Bozos on Gun Violence

I'm having a hard time putting up with all the self-righteous blowhard coming from the GOP on gun violence against one of their own.

Sure, it's a tragedy, on all counts.

But, thousands of innocent people are killed every year in American-style gun violence - children, women, men - and not a peep from these bozos, except to want more guns, to fill our schools and playgrounds with more weapons, to militarize our police, to arm everyone they can, because the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, and all the Texas-style BBQ with trimmings.

Well, now, the chickens have come home to roost, and, gosh, are these dimwits howling with indignation, self-righteous posturing, and political condemnation, to feather their own nest by appearing oh so innocent, meek and mild, before this wretched left-wing shooter.

Yes, it's tragic, for the victims, their families and friends ... their lives are forever changed, with terrible memories forever imbedded.

May there be healing for their bodies, and some healing for the soul ... I say "some," because this kind of emotional wound never entirely heals.

Will anything change in our rightwing congress? I doubt it - there's too much NRA money being handed out like Halloween candy, and these guys and gals are grabbing for it with both hands, and stuffing their faces with it.


All Hail the Gun Almighty.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Why the Mess?

Why the mess?
Well, for one, a President who is a congenital liar, a man of greed, filled with lust and plagued by a variety of neuroses.
A VP who is a misogynist, a homophobe, a wayward Roman Catholic caught up in evangelical moralism and self-righteousness.
An Attorney General who is a thoroughgoing racist, guided by traditional Southern Ideas, like nullifications, states' rights, and Make America White Again (he'd never admit it, but no need for admission; it's evident in his track record and in his recent efforts to roll back human rights as they pertain to people of color).
A Congress full of rightwing folks bred on several generations of hatred for FDR, and all things governmental, except, of course, when government's big hand passes homophobic laws, restricts women's healthcare, and suppresses voting rights.
Judges who style themselves as "originalists," which amounts to nothing more than saying, "My way is the holy and righteous way; your way sucks."
An Education Secretary who despises public education and wants to privatize the whole enterprise for personal gain.
An Interior Secretary who wants to sell his Grandmother and our National Parks to the highest bidder.
An Energy Secretary who has crude oil in his veins and the smell of money in his nostrils ... and a might small brain on top of it all, who now wears dark-framed glasses, trying to appear intelligent, which never quite seems to work, because he isn't.
A Secretary of State, who may have a brain, but lacks political acumen, and is, rather, guided by corporate interests for profit and, thus, determined to lift sanctions against Russia so that drilling for oil can proceed. 
Need I go on?
We have at the helm of our nation a menagerie of fools, charlatans, crooks and religious zealots. 
Is it any wonder that war and rumors of war abound? That turmoil and tribulation beset the very core of our government? That controversy swirls like an Oklahoma tornado puling everything apart? That corruption is found at every turn of the day? All dressed up in the cloying sweetness of bible-quoting pronouncements, "I'm blessed" prayers and je-e-sus for Amerika?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Nation

My nation has entered upon difficult days.
Dark and dangerous times.

Two competing visions of America.
One, generous and kind, mindful of people, not the dollars.

Determined to help everyone find the American Dream.
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Fully understanding:
We're all in this together.

Because all of us owe a huge debt to one another.
A debt paid without question or regret.

The other, of course, all about the dollars.
Government on the cheap.

With a mission to further feather the pockets of the mega-rich.
While telling everyone else to take a hike.

Or, worse,
"Improve yourselves and get your own money."

Somehow or other believing the money taken by the mega-rich,
Will trickle on down to the rest of us.

Which it never does.
Because once it's gone into the money machine of the rich.

It's gone.
Gone forever.

Taken from us.
US ... you and me.

Who made this money, in the first place.
With sweat of brow and brawn and brain.

Two visions.
And the contest is on.

We've seen it play out before.
In the fateful days leading up to Sumter.

Gettysburg and Shiloh.
Bull Run and Chickamauga.

And out of the smoke and blood.
Other such seasons, as these two recurring visions lock horns.

Hoover and the Great Depression.
Busted banks that went too far.

And then FDR.
Out of the blue, so to speak.

A man of polio.
Who knew what it was to depend upon others.

FDR. Who wasn't perfect.

Understood this America of mine.

So did Eisenhower.
And even Nixon.

But the GOP has, as of late, gone mad.
I mean, really, thoroughly, deplorably, mad.

There is no kindness left in its ranks.
Bitterness and bigotry have consumed its soul.

Racism and misogyny.
War and power.

A disgust with the poor.
And love of money.

Led by a madman.
A Russian puppet?

Who knows what scurrilous elements comprise this closet.
What shenanigans hide beneath that mop of hair.

So, where are we?
For now, bad times.

As the GOP flexes its muscles.
To deconstruct FDR's America.

And create Amerika anew.
A feudal society.

A few haves.
And the rest, have-nots.

This, too, will run its course.
But not before damage has been done.

Real damage.
That may take years to repair.

And some damage, permanent.
Beyond the failsafe point.

Two visions now test America's soul.
I stand with FDR on this one.

An America for all.
An America ... for all.




Friday, March 10, 2017

Republicans Have a Chance

For 8 years, Republicans have screamed at the top of their lungs that given half a chance, they'll make America great again.

Well, they have a chance, and so far, it's been a first-class mess.

Transitions are always marked by some confusion, but this transition takes the cake because the current office holder believed that the scrawl of his pen would change the world and everyone would cheer.

Perhaps it works that way on the top floor of the Trump Tower, but not in government.

I have long suspected, and history backs me up on this, that Republicans are unable to govern ... given power, which America has a need to do now and then, they always end up the same way: more for the rich and less for everyone else.

This is not a governing philosophy, and, for me, flies in the face of my Christian Faith.

As for the faith, I've been at it awhile ... with all the requisite work of prayer, study and consultations.

So, I'm comfortable with where I am, as opposed to offering opinions on the status of Pluto or the latest in Hip Hop.

Getting back to the Republicans: the depths of confusion and scandal show no signs of letting up, and plenty of signs that it's going to worsen.

This is what money does. And it seems that the Republicans are all about money, their money and my money, too - i.e., taking my money and giving it away to the mega-rich.

The Republicans hold to a philosophy destined to ruin this nation (it's happened before); a philosophy that cannot govern, but only plunder.