Wednesday, November 28, 2012

GOP Madness and Taxes

As for me and my house, I can't understand why the GOP would be wiling to put Medicare and SS on the chopping block, raising taxes on the Middle Class, but refuse to raise taxes on those who can well afford more, many of whom, real patriots, have made it clear to Congress that the health of this nation rests upon those who can pay more in taxes and should - not in killing the safety net for the Middle Class.

We are not out of money - those in charge of the GOP are just too damn selfish to pay their fair share, hiding behind the nonsense of being "job creators" - not true; most have inherited their money and live off of what mom and dad gave to them, and what the bankers can create through manipulation bordering on criminal.

We've got plenty of money in this land, and we can do it, and do it in style, and there will be plenty left over for big boats and fancy cars; in fact, there will be more. Money funneled through the Middle Class grows; money through taxation on the wealthy provides the means for roads, schools, national parks, and a million other things.

Those to whom much has been given, much is required.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

America's Underbelly - A Story Not to Be Forgotten

A few days after Christmas, "... the victims of America's last lynching of 1918 were buried in Alabama - two black men, ages fifteen and twenty, and two black women, ages sixtine and twenty. All four had been hanged in Mississippi from the girders of a bridge spanning the Chickasawhay River. They were suspected of murdering a local doctor whose actual murderer, a white man, would be found several days after the hangings. As the four victims stood on the bridge with the nooses around their necks, they begged the white men to set them free. Despite the severe beatings they had endured to force their confessions, they continued to profess their innocence. But this only agitated their killers. To stop the cries of innocence, one man repeatedly struck the older of the girls in the mouth with a wrench, hitting her enough times to knock out all her teeth. She was five months pregnant. The younger girl was also pregnant, due in two weeks. They hit her enough times in the back that she was nearly unconscious by the time the four were hanged. On the afternoon of the burials, the younger girl's mother believed that the baby in her daughter's womb was still alive. But no one knew how to save it and everyone was afraid to seek help outside the circle of friends who had come to mourn the dead that day."

~ From Savage Peace by Ann Hagedorn, pp. 44-45.

When I read this chilling account on the morning hours (November 17), I knew that I was reading the story of hell - hell created by white men in the Deep South, white men hating themselves for who they had become during centuries of slavery, only to hate the once enslaved all the more. Were these white men drunk on white lightening? Or just drunk on their own insanity of power and hatred? I'm sure most of them were in church for Christmas singing, "Silent Night," and were likely in church again the next Sunday to hear about Je-e-sus and how Jesus saves.

There is something wrong in the Deep South to this very day - hence the riots that broke out in the early morning hours on the campus of the University of Mississippi after President Obama's reelection Nov. 7.

The Deep South remains crippled with this poison, and all dressed up in the righteous rags of States' Rights and religion, this so-called "Southern Strategy" threatens to cripple the entire nation politically and financially.

Sadly, in all parts of the country, and now especially in the mid-west, these poisons have found new homes in the hearts of old white men who no longer "feel at home in the world that once belonged to them," and young white men who find themselves unable to claim the "American Dream."

Whatever faith you may possess, I hope the above account shakes you to the core of your soul and leaves you disturbed.

For this is a story that continues to live in America's underbelly, and, in some tragic ways, in every white American.

Perhaps humanity can never fully expunge the poisons of racial hatred, but awareness of it's deadly nature, and a mindfulness of its symptoms, will enable us to control it within ourselves, and name it when it rears its ugly head, though wearing a fine suit and sounding oh so erudite.

America's underbelly - a story not to be forgotten!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Snake-Handling, God's Will and the GOP

Early 70s.

West Virginia ... Camp Creek ... Joe Turner - the Jesus Only Church, and snake-handling.

A young man, in one of two Presbyterian Churches I pastored, hunted and bagged rattlers for them on occasion, and told me of a time when he had a full sack lying on the floor of his home - he kicked and poked it around, then brought it to the church, and when the time came to "prove your faith" with snakes, the snakes were so angry, they bit everyone!

Snake-handling to prove faith is a fascinating folk practice with a decided "political" flavor.

In a nutshell, if you're bit and die, and they loved you, then it was simply the Lord's time to call you home.

If they didn't like you, you died because you didn't have enough faith.

Either way, whatever happened, there was a "reason" for it that allowed the snake-handling worldview to remain intact. Nothing could sway the faith of the faithful. Whatever happened - oh well, they had a way of incorporating it into their worldview.

Such are the diehard Republicans who confessed to the world the power and the glory of their god who would sweep Romney/Ryan into office!

A god who would cleanse the nation of Roe v Wade, do away with terrible communist unions, put a lid on uppity women and people of color, rid our schools of evolution, do something about all those free-loading illegals and plunge us into the glories of religious war against all those dadgum Muslims!

Well, it didn't quite turn out that way.

It seems that America, rather decisively, said No!

So, here's the deal.

These folks prayed for god to intervene and save America. They believed it was doing to happen.

It didn't.

Now what?

Well, this is clearly of the devil.

It can't be god's will.

Or, it might be god's judgment on a godless nation.

What they cannot accept is that it might simply be god's answer to their prayers, to intervene on behalf of the nation, for the sake of the future, for what is right and good.

Oh no. None of that.

Obama is a socialist, and worse than that, a man of color who likes gays. He isn't even an American.

In reality, there is no change looming on the horizon for those who handle snakes. Whatever happens, their worldview goes on, unchallenged, unchanged.

They're angry at the devil, that's for sure, for spoiling their plans, and angry at the godless people around them who choose the ways of wickedness.

This backwood's ignorance has been brewing for 200 years, ever since the Cane Ridge Revival of 1801, through the Scopes Trial of 1925, Billy Graham in a Los Angeles tent, 1949 - and so on. With Graham, it emerged from the woods of America and soon took center stage.

What with megachurches and TV (fundamentalism was a phenomenon waiting for TV), it blew across the American landscape like a hurricane. Add to that private schools and home-schooling, and for the last 50 years, along with Goldwater, Nixon and Reagan, a virulent form of christianity, a pro-capital, America-first, brand of faith, a faith full of hatred and violent images, an anti-science faith, has been shaping faith and culture for millions of Americans.

It will take a long time to root this out of the American mindset. It will retreat, and we'll see many of the megachurches close their doors and sell their campuses to community colleges, so that real learning might occur in those buildings mostly built on ignorance, fear and unrelenting pride.

Yet, this kind of junk is always part of human DNA - call it original sin, if you will, but in some form or other, it will re-emerge, ready to take on the demons of the world, offering a brand of faith, "bigger, better, brighter" than others, and willing to lead this nation, or other nations, into insanity once again.

Like those snake-handlers in West Virginia, nothing can sway their faith. Whatever happens, they have a reason for it, a reason that leaves their crazy faith intact!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Vote for Romney/Ryan!

If you've hitched your wagon to the 1%, then vote for Romney/Ryan.

If you believe that men like Karl Rove, Donald Trump, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Sheldon Adelson have your best interests at heart, and that of the nation as a whole, then go ahead, vote Romney/Ryan.

If you believe that the economic policies of the Far Right, the T-Bags, George W. Bush and the whole union-busting, hate-the-evil-Empire policies of Reagan are the right course for America, then, yes, vote Romney/Ryan.

If you believe that Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin articulate a coherent message of hope for the nation, and for women and children, and set a worthy example for your daughters, then go ahead and vote for Romney/Ryan.

They will deliver on their promises!

They will destroy affordable healthcare for Americans ... they will further erode public education ... destroy unions and end collective bargaining ... roll back minimum wage, privatize Social Security; severely limit Medicare and all other safety-net policies; unfetter big biz from regulation and encourage Wall Street to run wild ... end all efforts at marriage equality; remove the rights of women in healthcare, compel birth - regardless of its origin; the military will be ramped up and more wars will be fought ... with no one to monitor our food supplies and the water we drink and the air we breath ... drilling and mining will pillage the environment without heed ... because God watches over us and prevents global warming.

If you think the 1% are wealthy now, just wait!

If you believe the 1% care about you, and your future is connected to theirs, then vote for Romney/Ryan.