Monday, February 29, 2016

A Clear and Present Danger?

At a certain point in time, when does a political ideology cease being merely just so many alternative ideas/programs to much the same goal to which most everyone aspires and become a clear and present danger to the wellbeing of a society's life?

We're at a time now in America when a constellation of ideas and brutish behavior have coalesced into a dangerous mix threatening to undo our democracy and bring the American Experiment to an end.

I'm distressed by the brutishness and ignorance of a lot of our current politics and religion - all of it mixed up in some kind of noxious brew, highly addictive apparently, and, yes, a clear and present danger.

If only the people of Italy in the Twenties and Germans in the Thirties has been alert enough to see in the Brown and Black Shirts a threat to everything they held dear. That the rhetoric and posturing of Mussolini and Hitler was nothing less than evil, a contradiction of everything sacred and everything good.

People in Italy, with Mussolini's rise to power, and folks in Germany, with the advent of Hitler, believed that such extremism just wasn't possible, but it was, and what a price was paid, by the whole world, as fascism took the world into the darkest of places.

All Lives Matter????

When someone says, "All lives matter," I'm immediately suspicious.


Because I think it's an avoidance thing ... an avoidance of the specific, the very specific, issue: Black Lives Matter, and every day, how our society makes it clear that Black Lives don't matter very much at all.

The avoidance of the specific, to blunt the sorrow and to sidestep responsibility.

Yes, all lives matter ... but without specificity, the slogan becomes just another meaningless, throwaway phrase ... like, "How are you today?" or, "Have a good day!"

In reality, if we want to get serious and go to work, then it's Black Lives Matter ... here is a need, a task, to keep our society busy for a long time to come.

Some would say, "The Devil's in the details."

I say, "God is in the details, and so is love and justice, if we make it so."

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Lenten Thoughts - Class Struggle

Lenten Thoughts ...

1) The story of Jesus is always the story of The People in conflict with the Ruling Class ...

2) The gospel offered by Jesus (see Beatitudes) must have scared the be-jesus (so to speak) out of the Ruling Class, both Roman and Judean.

3) The big question became: How do we get rid of him without further upsetting the people whom we're slowly crushing while we continue to live our lives of ease? 

4) As Jesus' popularity grew (how the people loved him when he tweaked the noses of the Ruling Class), the "central powers" of Rome and Judea grew evermore concerned ...

5) And we know the rest of the story ... the Ruling Class manipulated the crowds and the judicial process ... and to mollify the crowds, threw Barabbas into the deal, a revolutionary of some sort.

6) A story as old as Cain and Able ... and the descendants of Cain and Seth.

Patterns of History ...

The patterns of history ...

1) the Ruling Class creates within itself an attitude of disrespect toward the poor - it's the only way the Ruling Class can live with its unjust behavior toward The Poor.

2) It's unjust behavior always is wage suppression and denial of rights, and terrible working conditions, without any support for injury or illness.

3) For a time, The Poor accept their lot in life - this has always been one of the functions of religion.

4) Sooner or later, The Poor awaken ... and suddenly The Rich begin to fear The Poor rather than simply despise them.

5) Meager morsels are tossed to The Poor: better working conditions, the right to vote, etc..

6) This works to mollify The Poor.

7) But The Poor continue to agitate for more ... for themselves and their children. Sometimes religion assists with a progressive interpretation of the Gospel.

8) And, then, some form of revolution - perhaps peaceful, but more likely, with violence, since The Ruling Class has never allowed any society to "vote away their privilege" ... an adjustment that narrows the gap between The Ruling Class and The Poor, creating The Middle Class and wide-spread prosperity.

9) The Ruling Class continue to despise everyone not born with silver spoon and possessing their good looks and love of ease. I mean, who doesn't enjoy a good Fox Hunt now and then?

10) Sooner or later, wage suppression and denial of rights becomes once again the tool of The Ruling Class to retake what was given, what "belongs to them by right of birth and divinity, and the Middle Class begins to shrink.