Thursday, April 28, 2011

Here's My Birth Certificate

Since Donald Trump is so interested in people's birth certificates, and since the President was classy enough and thoughtful enough to show his, perhaps it is best that we all show him ours. So let me start with mine -- which just happens to be the same as that for everyone in this nation:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Those words are the birth certificate of a nation, and therefore, the birth certificate of each and every one of us who was born on this nations' soil, the soil of a possession of this nation, a recognized territory of this nation, or who has been naturalized by the Federal government of this nation. What any document containing the information about the birth of any one us says is irrelevant, compared to those words, which turned a loose confederation of former English colonies into a new nation, conceived in liberty, and built upon the idea that all her citizens were created equal.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I, Citizen

I am a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams, James Madison, George Washington, Thomas Paine, John Hancock, and their peers. My bloodline passes down through the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution of the United States and The Bill of Rights. My family lineage is filled with saints and sinners, sages and snakes, mountaineers and mountebanks. It is passed to me through the generations, and it is in this that I am granted title, the most powerful royalty of any nation: Citizen of the United States of America.

The title is not a hollow one, though, for it carries the heavy responsibility of maintaining, protecting, and defending the freedom, liberty, and justice of the nation and its citizenry, from all aggressors, foreign and domestic. I am given the broad and discretionary power to write and re-write law through the auspices of representatives of my choosing, and to install those who would be charged with overseeing the vitality and vigor of the nation in the office of the President of the United States. It is a duty not to be taken lightly, for shirking it endangers not only myself, but all my fellow citizens. We must, together, raise a nation and keep it safe from the vagaries of the world and from our own inner demons.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

The Roman Catholic Church decrees this to be Good Friday, the commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ by the Romans at Calvary. All Catholics and Christians are expected to observe the day in holy reverie for the death of The Savior.

The sad part of this whole thing, is that so much energy is invested in telling this story and the story of the Resurrection, as if they alone were reason enough to revere Jesus and praise The Lord.

Defying The Precipice

There is not much that can be said of the last few years in America that has not already found its way into Presidential speeches, Congressional testimony, pundit-filled shows on cable, talking-head shows on financial networks, and blogs of every description and size. Since the beginning of the precipitous plunge of the nation toward Depression, there has been enough wailing, moaning, gnashing of teeth, and finger pointing to fill volumes. It has been fodder for politics, for industry, for banking, and for the news.

The jabbering, multitudinous and myopic, has left people at odds over what is to be done, provided political ne'er-do-wells the opportunity to ply us with their conspicuously anti-middle class screeds, and turned up the volume on the blathering to the point of obscuring the painful truth -- the precipice is still not that far away. The fact remains: people are hurting. Not the rich... no, their place in American culture is insulated from the vicissitudes of life by their avarice and the generosity of the rest of the citizenry in letting them absent themselves from paying their due. The people who are hurting are the overwhelming majority of Americans who are finding their pay cut, their hours slashed, their jobs eliminated or shipped overseas, and are left floating in a sea of debt they were told they could handle by banks and other agencies who were only interested in the money they could make. And this group, representing just about the full breadth of us, is barely hanging on.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

War Comes To Fort Sumter

If you go there now, you can feel the isolation. It takes a moment to edit from your mind the bridges and boats and signs of modernity that dot the island and the landscape across the harbor in Charleston, South Carolina. When you do, though, you feel it -- a tiny little outpost, exposed on three sides by land, and no help to be had in the vicinity. You can play the soundtrack in your head, the bark of cannons across the water, the whistle of shells careening through the air, the explosions and hollow thumps of artillery landing all around, shattering casements, setting buildings on fire. The smell of gunpowder and sweat and smoke wreathes your nostrils. You can feel it -- you are alone, your supplies are limited, and you are cut off from rescue or resupply. You stand behind the battlements on this tiny island, upon which Fort Sumter is built, and you stand in awe as the American flag whips in the breeze, torn and discolored from battle, but ever proud.

That flag can be seen on display at the fort, sealed behind glass, a remnant of that day, the day The Civil War physically began, when the dissolution of the United States into Union and Confederacy was enforced by cannonade and gunfire. That flag would be a rallying point for the Union, and would represent ultimate victory, when raised above the fort at the end of the war. It represents something more, though -- a loss of innocence for a nation conceived in liberty, that it could not simply work out it differences without resorting to violence.

Gender Confusion

Man and woman. We have, at our most basic, defined ourselves along those line since the rise of Homo sapiens. Our outer covering, our biological form, our morphology, was the most obvious division that could be made between human beings. That difference was used time-and-again to create rules, tell stories, and try and mold human societies, large and small. Women were often placed in the inferior position, treated more like cattle than people, prized for their power to create children and for their beauty. Men, bigger and stronger, took on the tasks of hunting, scouting, and providing. At the time of the evolution of true humans, these differentiations perhaps provided the necessary framework for the growth of humanity. But now they are an impediment, in more ways than one.

Friday, April 8, 2011

We Have Shutdown

And so, with the clock ticking inexorably toward a shutdown of the Federal government, the principals in the drama continue their sparring. It's not so much a matter of the final number, given how close the sides are, but of ideology. It boils down to this: the Republicans want to cut the budget by cutting social programs. The Democrats want more structured cuts, across the board, including defense. The gap is small, in budgetary terms, but may as well be the Grand Canyon as far as party dogma goes.

The hour approaches, and with it, trepidation. What will the morrow bring?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why Rape Is Not About The Victim

There are two parties to a rape: the perpetrator and the victim. The perpetrator performs the act of rape on the victim; this means, that the rapist forces the victim to have an act of sexual congress without their tacit assent, or having withdrawn previous assent. It is, short of murder, one of the more horrifying crimes in the world, because at the end, the victim has something taken from her (or him) that they cannot so easily get back: their dignity and sense of whole self. The shame and humiliation that come with being raped, however, are mainly a function of society, not the rape victim. Society, throughout history, has deemed rape a form of "victim-less crime," through the tired and absurd idea that "she was asking for it." This perplexing idea, that simply by the way a woman dresses or acts, she completely unhinges a man's sensibilities to the point of forcing her to have sex, is as baseless as other discredited ideas, such as the flatness of the Earth or the Sun and planets revolving around our home, or the universe being made of crystal spheres.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Where The Right Gets It Wrong

I might be tarred as criminally insane by some for attacking the conservative movement in America so vigorously, but I take any damnation of my calling out their hypocrisy as solid praise, for I have struck a nerve to have bothered anyone by my admonitions. For surely, in a world where reason was ascendant, it would be obvious when the fool and the huckster were attempting to woo us with sweet lies and grand obfuscations.

In our world, though, reason has taken a back seat to ignorance. The masses are more concerned with the petulant bombast of drug-hazed actors and the latest tiny glowing box to be foisted unnecessarily upon them to eat up their remaining credit limit, than they are the real and important state of their government and their nation. The victory for independence won over two hundred years ago, they feel no need to be engaged, considering all the important work done as long as they can continue to buy their over-priced, faux-Italian coffee.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Man Who Will Never Be President

As the Presidential Election circus approaches, we take a moment to consider one act under the political big top that has outlived its useful life. I speak of none other than Newt Gingrich.

As Speaker of the House of Representatives, he engineered and steered the Republican victory of 1994 that saw them sweep into power in Congress. He of the “Contract For America,” proceeded to do a dance with President Bill Clinton, hamstringing him when convenient, attacking him when necessary, and compromising as little as possible. He would have been more successful, too, if greed and over-arching pride had not gotten the better of him. Ethically-challenged and morally-suspect, he went from Republican avatar to his own worst enemy in the matter of a few years.

Now, he wants to be President.