Friday, October 2, 2015

Love of Guns

In one of my FB threads, someone defends "love of guns" and then suggests that his use of the word "love" needs to be carefully distinguished by how the Bible treats love with a variety words ...
I wrote: love is love - it's an attachment, and a willingness to defend the love-object no matter what - dogs, houses, friends, spouses, lovers, cars, toys, addictions. Word distinctions matter little; what counts is behavior, and, at least for Christians, a willingness to follow the Prince of Peace, and to heed his advice: "Lay aside your weapon," would speak volumes. 
All of this talk about "trusting Jesus" seems to matter little when it comes to "trusting guns" instead. 
The far right has long imbibed the Kool-Aid of fear - creating a hideous paranoia in a segment of our population. 
Police officers may carry; licensed hunters may own, but never carry into a Walmart or anywhere else, other than field or forest. Not even in a pickup truck. 
All of this reveals the addiction we have to guns - because it's the addiction that takes over, it's the addiction that speaks. Much like any addict who protests: "I'm not addicted. I can quit anytime I want." But woe to the one who gets between the addict and his addiction. 
We're in a first class mess right now, and a screwball like Jeb Bush said it well - "stuff happens!" Guns are killing us, yes guns. Substitute baseball bats and knives for guns, and such deaths would plummet. 
We're a foolish nation being led by the nose by a perfidious group called the NRA. They've bought our politicians and have infiltrated evangelical churches all around the nation. "In Guns We Trust."

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The War Against the Poor Rages on

The War Against the Poor rages on in conservative circles ... widely supported among evangelical christians ...

What are the roots of this malignant cancer eating away at America’s soul?

Two causes:

1) English landed gentry assumed that the peasant working in the field was less deserving of the things of life - determined by god to fulfill the role of servant for those determined by god to be the ruling, landed, class.

2) This was translated into the American Soul - only the landed gentry could vote, etc.. Then, comes the African Slave - of course, slavery was their god-determined role; they were less than human, anyway, and thus degraded in mind and spirit, but endowed with physical strength, to work the sugar cane and cotton fields.

After the Civil War, it wasn’t much easier for the African, and for the South, to justify its growing Jim Crow legal system, the same ideas were applied: being less than human, they were destined to work, and never enjoy the benefits of their labors. And a hint, as well, as punishment: “You cast your lot with the North, and now you will pay, pay mightily for what the North did to us.”

While lots of poor whites labored in the same system, they were at least accorded a certain dignity of status in society and in church. As long as there were Africans on the bottom of the heap, even the poorest and most wretched white man could look down his nose at the African, with disdain, and then fear and hatred, to further demonize the African and justify the growing patterns of violence against the African.

While prevented ultimately from openly directing all of this hatred toward the African, it was transmuted to a hatred of all things poor ... once again, evangelical christianity joined the chorus of hatred - “if you’re poor, you’re lazy; if you’re poor, it’s god’s judgment; if you’re poor, there’s something wrong with you. And what you need, all you need, is Jesus.”

Poverty of others becomes a means of self-congratulations - “I may be poor, but I’m not poor like THAT! I’m blessed by god, I’m bound for heaven, I work hard, and I’m a whole lot better than the raggedy man in his broken-down car and that disheveled woman on the street corner begging for coins.”

“No free stuff for anyone.”

And so the War Against the Poor rages on!

Monday, September 14, 2015

GOP's Fixation on Sex

Hardly a day goes by without some GOP reference to sex ...

1) Sex is the source of all our ills.
2) Women are always the temptress (you know, the apple and all).
3) Men are excused, well, because they're men.
4) Women are evil, because they're women (you know, the apple and all).
5) Women need to be restrained.
6) No more birth control; gives women too much freedom.
7) No more abortion, since pregnancy is always god's gift.
8) Women can't be trusted to make rational decisions.
9) Women, if in the work place, do inferior work, so pay 'em less.
10) If a woman's raped, its her fault. End of discussion.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Clearing the Way for the 1% to be Kind and Generous

If there's one thing I've learned about the demise of Labor Unions, it's this:
Owners, Stock Holders, Wall Street and Boards of Directors, are truly eager to show how kind and generous they can be, with higher wages for all their employees, broader benefits, no gender discrimination on pay, job security and training, access to medical insurance, family-leave, over-time pay and plenty of holidays.
Get the Unions out of the way, and America will see a new day of kindness on the part of the 1%.
All we need to do is finish off the Unions!
I can hardly wait!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Southern Tier Religion and Politics

Throughout the Southern Tier of the nation, an intense evangelicalism was spread upon the wound of slavery and Jim Crow laws - a thick, gooey, perfumed, salve, that healed nothing, even as it was used, none too successfully, to obscure the stench.

And the more the wounds suppurated, the more was spread the salve.

In part, to ease the conscience ("look at what fervent believers we are"), but religion so used can never heal the troubled conscience; in fact, the conscience itself, deeply troubled, has to engage in ever-tightening circles of self-deception, making a lie of the very religion so used.

Yes, true as well, in lots of places throughout the nation (because racism is part of our DNA), but the South, I fear, is the motherlode from whence the sorrow flows and spills over into the nation.

Many in the South stand against this; yes, this I know. But the current status of the South is frighteningly regressive, from statehouse to statehouse, and my sympathies to those of enlightened mind and heart who have to live in such environments.

One can only hope that RW people in the South will see how deceived they've been by a couple of centuries of preachers and politicians.

And I can only hope that women and men of good faith and conscience will confront these evils for what they are, and offer to the world something far better.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Comparing US to other Nations

Comparisons between the US and some European countries always bring howls of protest from those who are blindly committed to American Exceptionalism, the crippling belief that we're special, if not superior to everyone else.

Sadly, such nonsense makes it impossible for Americans to learn from others ... I mean, after all, what's to learn, when we already know it all, have it all, and can do it all - the American Way?

I'm reluctant to writer any further, but I'll push on ... having recently spent a few weeks traveling in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, by car and train, I can only conclude that their roads are magnificent, and their trains, plentiful and comfortable, run on time.

All of this with various forms of universal health care and support for education.

The people are happy, can't understand America's current health-care mess, enjoy eating out, love the sunshine, have generous family-leave time, and dress well.

Heaven on earth?

Of course not, but a simple reminder that America isn't the last word on everything, and slipping further behind, we're likely to have the last word on nothing, as the rest of the world, even the Third World, outstrips us in environmental care, affordable housing, public transit, health-care and education.

Some needed changes:

First off, American Exceptionalism is a lie ... the world if full of great nations, large and small. We badly need to get over ourselves.

Secondly, lots of nations are doing a far better job of caring for their citizens than we are. Imagine that.

And that means we have to learn from others. I know that galls some, but like it or not, if we can't learn, we will fail, and fail badly.

The current message of conservative politicians doesn't help right now, but sadly, theirs is a message that still has plenty of street appeal for a segment of the American People who find it necessary to think that might makes right, or something like that.

Progressive voices offer us our best hope, but their message doesn't carry the weight of a John Wayne or Charlton Heston.

I hope that Americans can awaken from their slumbers and begin to see how the lies of our conservative leaders are destroying us; that John Wayne and Charlton Heston are no help whatsoever, except if you're rich and wanna stay rich by robbing everyone else of life, health and hope.

I see hopeful signs ... people are sick of failing schools and the failed promises of charter schools ... people are sick of lousy roads and our lack of public transit ... people want health-care, decent jobs, wages and benefits.

Maybe, just maybe, folks will see how other countries are doing it, and that we can and we must learn from others, because we're in a real mess right now.

Tides turns, and I think the tide is turning to a more populist message, the kind that guided Teddy Roosevelt and FDR, even Eisenhower at times, and certainly Carter, Clinton and Obama, too. But now's the time for even more ... if America hopes to find its rightful place in the world story.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Anti-abortion Activists and Universal Health Care

Just read a piece about anti-abortion efforts across the nation, now going after 20-week restrictions.

I thought: I would feel a whole lot more comfortable with these folks and their efforts to restrict abortion if they supported:

1) Universal Health Care for everyone in America.
2) Expanding Medicare and Social Security.
3) Full funding for public education and scaled back on their support of charter schools.
4) Climate change research and funding.
5) Universal voter registration.
6) Sex education in our schools.
7) Free contraception.
8) A woman's right to contraception without fear of employer reprisal because of "sincerely held religious beliefs."
9) Marriage Equality.
10 Efforts to end the death penalty.
11) Fair taxation of the wealthy.
12) Infrastructure rebuilding.
13) Labor unions and collective bargaining.
14) Efforts to raise the minimum wage.
15) Maintaining Jefferson's Wall of Separation between Church and State.