Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I Long For A Better World

I write this for every human being who would humble me by reading it.

I realize that is a fraction of a fraction of all humanity, but it may be, if I’m graced, humanity just the same.

I wonder why I write so much about injustice. I wonder why I’m so passionate when it would be so much easier to be oblivious.

It dawned on me.

I long for a better world.

As, if I remember correctly, my birth certificate has no expiration date on it, I felt as if I should share my longings in a timely manner with as many people as would be so kind as to share them with me.

For example, I long for a day when those who possess more than most of us could ever dream of will begin to share their riches with those who struggle and can only dream of possessing the basic necessities of life.

I long for a day when people accept spirituality in one of two ways.

I long for a day when those who don’t believe in spirits at all realize that this is the only life and the only world they will ever know and that they must use that life to make this world a much better place than they found it.

I long for a day when people of faith, people who believe in a spiritual world, people who believe in a higher power, a Creator, cease to believe in the creator of the books, cease to believe in a vengeful creator, a jealous creator, a murderous creator, a creator who commands its very own creations to set upon one another in death and destruction, especially upon its own behalf.

I long for a day when people who believe in a Creator believe in a Creator whose intent was for its creations to exist without war and destruction, from beginning to end.

I long for a day when such beliefs birth tolerance;

tolerance among those whose skin pigmentation produces hues of appearance which significantly differ from one person to another.

tolerance among those whose language and culture of ethnicity differ dramatically.

tolerance between genders so that each gender looks upon the opposite with total respect and equality.

tolerance towards those who love, cherish and honor another human being to the point where the two human beings wish to spend their lives together and share those lives, no matter the race, ethnicity or gender of either of the two.

I long for a day when all people everywhere realize that earth is finite.

I long for a day when all people everywhere appreciate the gifts that earth has given us.

I long for a day when all people everywhere realize that the entity earth has needs as well.

I long for a day when all people everywhere give back to the earth by, if in no other way, realizing that earth is finite and belongs to every creature which travels upon it.

I long for a day when people realize that life is a process.

For all of recorded time, humanity has had its eye on the goal, the finish line, the prize. It has either not realized nor cared about the process used to reach its goal.

Subsequently, the process has been trampled upon and flawed and filled with destruction.

Consequently, when the goal was reached, it was not sustained.

Throughout recorded history, there have been communities that have lasted for many years, but, by far, the greatest number of communities of note have failed. The great communities of note are no longer with us. They all ultimately failed.

I long for a day when humanity keeps its eye on the process and that process contains everything for which I long.

If humanity is more attentive to the process which contains everything for which I long, it will reach a goal and that goal will be called Peace.

Peace is giving and accepting.

I doubt I will see Peace in my life time, but maybe, just maybe if we all long for it with the intensity needed and we are acutely attentive to the process, a generation someday in the future may experience world wide Peace for the first time in history.

That goal will be sustainable.

That goal will never fail.

To friendship,
Michael


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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

What ALL Americans Need to Start Doing - NOW

As my profile states, I’m sort of politically active. In my case, my activism is what might be called left leaning (gotta get that leg fixed).

However, there’s an item of interest that is of the utmost importance that both conservatives and liberals (I hate those misnomers) can work on together to further each of their agendas.

We discuss gun control and there’s a distinct difference there, but both sides are, I believe, sincere and each side has good and not so good points.

We discuss abortion, a passionately explosive issue. However, in as much as liberals and conservatives disagree, again, each side truly believes that their point of view is in the best interest of people and each side’s arguments can be improved.

There’s even some agreement questioning the wisdom of invading Iraq.

There is a problem. Where does the problem start? With the mainstream media, of course.

The mainstream media tells, that’s right, tells the American people that there are only two political parties in the US. How do they do that?

Every four years when we elect a president, the media immediately starts talking about “red” states and “blue” states.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen a rainbow and I know that there are other colors which exist.

However, the milquetoast mainstream media has narrowed it down to two, red and blue.

So the American public immediately starts talking about Democrats and Republicans.

There’s the first place team, at present, The Republicans, and a second place team, at present, The Democrats. Every other team is tied for third!

That’s right. There are Democrats and Republicans and many, many “third” parties. As far as the mainstream monkeys are concerned, these “third” parties may as well not even exist.

I’ve been told, by The Green Party of the United States, that, in order to become thought of as legitimate, you have to start at the “grassroots” level.

I beg to differ with them. Just like with trickle down economics, the “Democratic Party/Republican Party” propaganda trickles down.

I submit to you that people go to the polls to vote for anything from dog catcher to US Senator and, although there are other parties on the ballot, they immediately look for Democrat or Republican. Why is this?

This happens because I believe that, subconsciously, people say to themselves, “Why waste a vote on a Libertarian or Socialist when I know that, when we get to the big prize, neither will be in the running. So, the brainwashing is done at the grassroots level. People are already there.

I know that many of us have voted against the corporate sponsored parties, but we are, obviously, in a minority.

What causes this phenomenon? The Electoral College causes this phenomenon, the playing field for the national championship. In our winner take all Electoral College system, voting for a “third” party is like staying home and eating pizza. There just isn’t enough room on the playing field for more than two teams.

It would be like putting five boxers in a ring and saying, “Go at it.” The only thing that can come out of that is another reality TV show.

To the conservatives: Republicans are not what they used to be. They don’t represent you.

Republicans used to be small government, fiscal responsibility and, for all intents and purposes, hands off when it comes to foreign policy.

What pass as Republicans these days are Neo-conservatives, Neocons. They want to dump all kinds of money into foreign policy and make an amendment to the constitution that defines the ultimate loving relationship. How is that small government, fiscal responsibility and semi-isolationism? It’s not.

If I was a conservative, I would do anything and everything I could to elect Libertarian officials, starting at the grassroots level. They’re the one, true conservative party.

To the liberals: Democrats are not what they used to be. They don’t represent you.

Democrats used to be spare no expense to help the needy, even if it meant unpopular taxes and even if it meant going to war. That’s right, Democrats have been in office at the start of the majority of our major “conflicts”. That may not be a liberal’s position, but it’s true.

Socially, however, Democrats have been Johnny on the spot. Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Welfare have all been Democratic initiatives and, if you believe in being “your brother’s keeper”, you have to like those programs.

Both Republicans and Democrats used to defend civil liberties, at least in their platforms. What they did once they were elected may be a different story.

What pass as Democrats these days are, well, all I can think of is “comfortable”. They like playing follow the leader, no matter who the leader is or what the leader says.

As George Wallace said during the 1968 presidential campaign, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between The Democrats and The Republicans.” Democrats and Republicans alike, especially those “inside the beltway” as it’s called or in state capitols, couldn’t give a damn about what they say in front of a camera or a microphone. They were wealthy before they were elected, they’re wealthy now and they’ll be wealthy after they leave office. With a couple of exceptions like Alan Spector and Barbara Boxer, those people don’t care about us, the people.

With all of the other important issues that are facing us, there is one that we, liberal and conservative alike, need to be working on first and foremost, fixing or eighty-sixing The Electoral College. When it comes to this issue, we must all become activists and now, well before 2008.

I’m for getting rid of it and going with one person, one vote nationally with a run off election being the deciding factor.

Some people say that getting rid of the Electoral College would benefit the small states and hurt the large states. They say this because, per capita, a citizen in a small state has more input into his or her state’s electoral votes than a person in a large state. Wyoming has three electoral votes and California has over 40. Do the division. A Wyoming voter has a whole lot more clout toward that state’s Electoral votes than does a California voter have towards California’s Electoral votes.

Some people say that getting rid of the Electoral College would benefit the large states and hurt the small states. After all, what presidential contender is going to campaign in Wyoming for three Electoral votes when putting time in California will get you 40?

If there were more candidates with an equal chance, every state’s Electoral votes would count. But, alas, the playing field, the boxing ring, is only so big – just enough room for two parties.

I’ve read and heard other solutions such as giving candidates percentages of Electoral votes that coincide with the percentage of popular votes in any given state.

It’s got to be fixed and I think it’s got to go. The Electoral College was instituted because, as much as the founders of The United States believed in freedom and democracy, they didn’t trust the people to really know what they were doing when they voted.

In those days, there may have been some truth to it. However, with communications being what it is today, there’s no excuse for a person to be uneducated. I’m not implying that all American voters know what they’re doing, but they should.

We, liberals and conservatives alike, need to become active in making significant changes in or getting rid of The Electoral College if we want our agendas to be front and center.

Unfortunately, the people who can do this are the very people who, either directly or indirectly, benefit from The Electoral College (trickle down?).

Can you imagine, just for a moment, protests by conservatives and liberals, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, in Washington or New York or Indianapolis or Baltimore or Mobile or Los Angeles or Chattanooga or all of the above! There would be millions of Americans calling for a major change in how we’re represented. We can debate, and I mean all of us can debate, the other issues later. First we have to get a seat at the table, though.

As long as Americans don’t put aside their differences and act to change the Electoral College system, there will be presidential debates with only two participants who basically represent corporate America.

It will be like this year when we had John Kerry saying he was going to be more like George Bush than George Bush and George Bush saying he was going to stay just the way he was.

If anyone knows of any way we can seriously get a national day of protest in place demanding that congress at least significantly modify The Electoral College system, please let me know. I’ll work harder on that than anything else.

To friendship,
Michael

“We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.” - General Omar N. Bradley

Monday, April 04, 2005

Just Shootin’ The Breeze (Because I Don’t Own A Gun)

A friend visited me a few days ago. I don’t know why, but every time he visits, the talk turns to current social and/or political events. Come to think of it, when anybody visits, the talk turns to current social and/or political events. Nature of the beast, I guess. And by “the beast”, I mean me.

Some of the thoughts that were kicked around just ended as questions that neither of us could answer. Some thoughts were observations and some were, well, just thoughts.

How do we know exactly who was being tortured by the former Iraqi government and why?

We do know that the Kurds wanted to, and still want to, secede. Hussein didn’t like that idea. He had them killed with biological and chemical weapons.

In the 1860s the southern states in The Former United States of America wanted to secede. Lincoln and the north wouldn't let them.

I don’t think that the north used chemical or biological weapons on the south because they didn't have the technology then. Who knows what they would have used if The Civil War took place later in time? It very well might not have been a four year war.

In the 1970s, people at Kent State didn't like what the government was doing and protested. Four students were murdered and many injured by government agents.

How many hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese people died when we unleashed our WMD on them?

We also talked about Waco and Ruby Ridge.

The government of Saddam Hussein was a secular government. His ambassador to the UN, Tariq Aziz, was a Christian. Hussein might have been crazy, but he wasn’t crazy about religious fanatics and they didn’t much like him.

Were the primary torture victims associated with Al Quaida, Hamas or other religious factions? They certainly weren’t running amuck in Iraq and causing all the problems that are being caused in other Middle Eastern countries.

Or maybe Saddam tortured “Bill”, the next door neighbor, just because he was bored or because he found out that Bill was saying bad things about him.

We compared Saddam’s reputation with what’s going on in the US under the Bush regime. I know I’m typing this freely and will post it freely, but do we really have a government that's willing to allow people to have and express their thoughts? It is, after all, part of who we are and how we got to be here. Does The Patriot Act give the government the right to monitor what I’m typing now? Are they monitoring what I’m typing now? How far will they let me go before they “disappear” me? Maybe they could care less what I’m typing now and I’ll never be “disappeared”.

Why are people with t-shirts that have even the slightest hint of opposition to Bush, like shirts that say “Democrats For America”, not allowed in to see Bush when he speaks? They’re not allowed in or they’re removed forcibly from the “town meetings” he’s conducting to push his Social Security plan.

There’s no doubt that Saddam Hussein was full of himself. He had statues of himself all over the place. However, there are a lot of countries in the world that have that kind of leadership. It’s a pretty historical phenomenon and absolutely no reason to attack a sovereign nation.

More Iraqis had jobs during the reign of Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad was a relatively modern city compared to some of the cities ruled by Islamic theocracies.

Iraq produced some of the top scientists, engineers, doctors, etc.

What if all the brutality and torture was inflicted upon fanatic religious factions to keep them in check and not inflicted upon the "regular" citizens of the country? Our invasion has provoked those factions to grow 100 fold in Iraq.

Was this a master plan? Here we go, another conspiracy theory, right? It’s not, really. It was just part of a discussion. But what if Dubya wanted to gather as many Islamic fanatics as possible in one place so he can perform genocide on them and take back the “holy land” for Christians?

Doesn’t “holy land” just mean a land with lots of holes? It does now.

To friendship,
Michael

“He who multiplies riches multiplies cares.” – Benjamin Franklin