Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Party of Restoration

The GOP has become, more so than ever, the Restorationist Party, holding before America a vision of white picket fences, little girls in flouncy dresses, boys shooting marbles in the schoolyard, date night at the local soda fountain, families going to church, women in the kitchen, Mom rearing children, Dad going off to work in the office: home at 5:30 for dinner, the children glad to see Daddy, and, oh, by the way, racial dominance and purity, no foreigners, and a military, always prepared to defend freedom, wherein every young man can be a hero to his girl back home.

Last night’s Democratic Debate had none of this backward look, but only forward, as it must be. 

While a certain portion of our population hankers after what is believed to have been lost, the message of restoration is a quest for fool’s gold. It never works, and always ends badly. 

Mussolini preached restoration to Italy, with images of a revived Roman Empire.

Hitler preached restoration to Germany, with images of revived glory and racial purity.

The Democratic Debate last night was refreshing, to say the least, with its focus on the future, moving ahead with science, new ideas, and its courage to identify the real problems confronting us: income inequality, the near-total victory of an oligarchy, global warming, our persistent racism, prisons filled to capacity, universal health care, immigration, equality for LGBTQ persons, women’s choice, college education, our ceaseless wars as of late, the intransigence of the Republican Party, and the general welfare of all.

It is no accident that the rearview mirror in a car is small compared to the windshield ... the backward look is needed from time-to-time, but looking backward all the time leads only to mishap, most like a lethal mishap.

The Dems are the Party for the Future ... eagerly looking through the windshield to see where we’re going, and how to avoid the bumps in the road and the careening truck of global warming headed our way, and all the other challenges coming our way. 

By looking forward, we’ll see the way, we’ll find solutions, we’ll work together, to continue fulfilling the American Dream, a dream far larger today than it was yesterday, a dream that will continue to grow all the more as forward thinking people add their own vision and energy to “liberty and justice for all.”

It was fun last night to watch thoughtful people examine the real issues and problems of our life together.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Right Wing Christians and Christmas

Soon, we'll hear RW Christians go on and on about saying "Merry Christmas" as if saying the words were enough to insure the presence of God.

I'm reminded of Jeremiah 7.4 wherein the Prophet says, "Don't trust in deceptive words, "the temple of the LORD" repeated three times, as if repetition guaranteed truth. All the words in the world could not cover the greed and violence of the temple crowd. No wonder Jeremiah described it as a "den of thieves," a comment to which Jesus himself alludes.

Also reminded of Jesus' comment on prayer: Matthew 6.7 - not to heap up empty phrases.

When Christians go about quietly celebrating the birth of Christ, that's all that's needed.

Say "Merry Christmas" if you wish, but say it without the hammer in your hand, or, for that matter, the gun.

As for me, I like saying Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What Would I Do?

When confronted with a killer, what would I do?

In my imagination, I’d be strong and brave, and quickly take action to save the day. In my imagination, I’d be a hero.

But I really don’t know what I’d do.

None of us do.

And to even speculate is preposterous.

And to think that I’d react differently than others, that I’d be the hero while others would be chumps, is a slap in the face of those who have faced a killer, and died.

Perhaps I’d be the hero ... but not likely. I have no “hero” training, I’m no Ninja Warrior, I’m no Mad Max ... I’m not a Navy Seal or Special Opps Soldier. Perhaps I’d be the hero, but chances are much higher that I’d be a victim.

Only a terribly immature man would claim that he’d behave differently than all the rest. Maybe he would, but he doesn’t know; no one knows.

Ben Carson’s posturing about how he’d have handled it, reminds me of a little boy running around in a Ninja Warrior Costume, telling all of his stuffed animals, “I’m master of the universe.”

With his childish posturing, Ben Carson has managed to insult everyone who died in Roseburg; indeed, he has insulted the victims of violence everywhere.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

America's Gun Addiction

As I see it, it will take a concerted effort between government regulation and concerned citizens ... to control what has become an epidemic in this nation. 

And the more I think about it, the more I have come to see the "love of guns" as an addiction, a mental health issue. Why? Because it's unreasonable, much as any addict loves the source of pleasure - that is, the source is protected, honored, loved and celebrated at all times, to which endless hours of work and thought are devoted. Unreasonable? You bet. 

It's also careless - the consequences of the addiction are dismissed, and whatever collateral damage there may be to family, friends, society and self, the addict ignores it. 

Ultimately, there is no price too great for the addict; whatever it takes, the addict will do it, in order to gain "the pleasure" of the addicting substance. The "love of guns" is clearly an addiction, a mental health issue.

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."