Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Don't Feel Your Pain

The world as we know it is a rough place, a series of nettlesome problems laced with personal disagreements, differing opinions, and a variety of points of view. The only constant is that the trials and tribulations are happening to people such as ourselves, people who may be very different from us through casual inspection, but upon deeper reflection, are not that much different. They, too, are trying to survive, trying to flourish, trying to have a decent life.

What disturbs us more than anything, is how so many seem to be unable to empathize with others, for reasons beyond comprehension and through rationales which test rationality. It is so easy for one person to look at another, and allow surface impressions to form their whole opinion, and to parse the information that comes in through various media as proof of that opinion. These opinions, far from fluid and malleable, become the bedrock of intolerance and ignorance, driving people further apart. It is as if the contraction for the world through technology and transportation is being resisted by a visceral repulsion, not unlike the collapse of star being slowed or halted by the fusing matter within.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

We Do Ordain And Establish

The Establishment is not the problem.

Those who are elected to run The Establishment are the problem.

The Excess Of Unreasonable Expectations

For all those who voted for Barack Obama, who thought that he would sweep into Washington, D.C. and cast out the political demons of money, power, and influence, much as Jesus cleansed the Temple, I have news for you: wasn't going to happen. You knew it, too; you knew, deep down, that over two hundred years of ingrained political glad-handing was not going to be erased by one man in one Presidential term. Still, there was, dare I say, hope. Hope that he would be different. Hope that the change he represented would sweep out like a tidal wave, engulfing the power-hungry minions of The Monied Powers and restore order. And while it's true that a wave starts with but a single drop of water, it gets its power from the billions of other drops that join it in surging forward.

So, we anointed the man, broke down a barrier many thought insurmountable, and swept him into office. Then, staggeringly, we sat back and waited. And waited. And waited. Waited for the change to appear. Waited for the exodus from Washington, D.C., of those who had long made profit of their power. And still, many wait, forgetting that the maxim that change requires action, and the action of one man would not be enough to turn back the corruption rife within the denizens of the nation's capitol. We abandoned him to his fate and now have the temerity to claim he is not fighting for us.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Parties Are Over

There may be no "I" in "team," but there is in "independent."

If you look up my voter registration, it will say "Democrat," but only because there are no open primaries in my state. Frankly, I'm not sure why there should be primaries at all, but I avail myself of the system that exists, a system that, frankly, shouldn't exist.

The Constitution of the United States makes no mention of political parties, minority whips, or any of the other baggage that has been dumped on the floor of the House and the Senate, or at the door of the White House, or in the vestibule of the Supreme Court. There are no Articles pertaining to how power shall be apportioned between political parties, or how parties can manipulate the Rules of Order and Procedure to create, maintain, or thwart power. The system in place now -- the unwritten system -- that lies atop those actual rules supplied by the Constitution are fabrications of the political parties that run the nation.

It's time for the parties to depart.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Now How Much Will You Pay?

Putting aside the fact that Wall Street does not represent the entirety of the U.S. economy, and that economy has been a wretched mess for several years now, and that troubles in Europe seem never-ending, can we really be shocked by the follies that have taken place of late in our country and the world? A botched attempt at maintaining our country's credit rating is a trifle compared to hunger in Somalia, political revolution in Syria and Libya, and lawlessness and poverty in Tottenham and elsewhere in Great Britain. Even so...

The hew-and-cry has always been that we need to focus on the problems we have at home. Assuming we could wall ourselves off from the rest of the world, the problems of the globe are not only our problems, too, they reflect the same problems that still plague our nation as deeply, if not as forcefully. So, yes, let us focus on the problems at home, large and small, and let's see where they originate. The answer may surprise you, though it shouldn't.

The problem is us.

Monday, August 8, 2011

America, The Post-Racial

Here is a story that tells you where America stands as far as tolerance and individual liberty goes: James Craig Anderson, a 49-year-old auto plant worker, was standing beside his car on a Sunday morning in Jackson, MS, when up drove two carloads of teenagers, who had spent the night drinking. The teens "allegedly" got out of their vehicles and proceeded to pummel this man, and then, when he tried to stagger back to his car, ran him over with a pickup truck and drove away.

The kids are white; Mr. Anderson was black. Was, because he is now a corpse, bereft of life and of any conceivable identity that could be assigned to him that would have any meaning other than deceased. He was a living, breathing man, American citizen, worker, brother and son. Assigned by the Constitution of the United States his inalienable rights to personal liberty, he had those rights stripped from him in a brutal and callous fashion, by unfeeling, uncaring, bigoted white teenagers. Allegedly. In the vernacular that we must adopt as outlined in that same Constitution, one is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and so the crime is "alleged" to have occurred. Of course, the Founding Fathers never envisioned video tape or digital recordings.

The whole crime was caught on surveillance video. In sordid detail.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Love And Marriage

It is a fallacy, a piece of ignorant fluff, that says there can be no love between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Besides the knowledge that sons love fathers and daughters love mothers, the simple fact remains that our essence, our soul if you will, is not a function of the shell we inhabit. Our personality, our fears, our drives, our emotions, may be connected to our physical form through the mechanisms of biology and evolution, but they are not us. If it's true that an immortal soul can be brought into existence with our birth, then how can that self-same soul be made a slave to a physical form it had no knowledge of? No. We are not a product of our gender, any more than we are a product of our skin color, or the God we do -- or do not -- worship. These things are are mere affectations, fleetingly attached to our true selves for the few years we stumble across the stage before the world.

Marriage is another affectation, a convenience and creation of men. It exists to bind together in law and dogma two people, and throughout history it was mostly a man and a woman. It was a means to an end, a justification for and celebration of misogyny, a binding of a woman in subservience to a man, a completion of a deal for passing a woman from one man (her father) to another man (her husband). Called a sacrament and draped in sanctity, it might be celebrated as one of the defining moments of a person's life, and, indeed, there is much to be said for declaring that one person is enough for you for your eternity on Earth, but we can never forget from whence it came, and call into question just how spiritually liberating the practice known as marriage is... until now.

Now, with the pursuit of equality for all Americans, outlined in the continued advance of the right to same-sex marriage, this old, stilted, and somewhat bedraggled ceremony is gaining a new birth of sanctity. For when we declare, triumphantly, that it matters not what form two human beings take, that they love and commit to each other "forever," we breathe new life into vows to love, honor, and cherish, and we admit that our knowledge of the world extends much further than it did when our ancestors first brought the practice into being.

There are those who rail against this new birth, guardians of "sacred" dogma, clinging to a past long surpassed by the forward flow of humanity over the face of this planet and into the black sky above. Our capacity for reason and knowledge tells us that there is no shame in faith, save where that faith seeks to invalidate truth or impose itself on others. In this case, truth is not easily dismissed. To allow the decrepitude of a paternalistic, bigoted past to live within the human milieu is to willingly carry a cancer that will continue to threaten the health of us all. Let no person be denigrated for their belief, save that we hold forth some pity for them, that they cannot see the forest for the trees. In the inevitability of human evolution, there will be those left behind, and they will mark dying branches on our family tree.

They said that a man and a woman of different religions could not marry, that it would destroy us -- they were wrong. They said that a man and a woman of different races could not marry, that it would destroy us -- they were wrong. They say now that a man cannot marry a man, nor woman marry a woman, that it will destroy us -- they are most definitely, wrong.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You Get What You Vote For

The hyperventilating, pontificating, and obfuscating is now over. As with any good compromise, the bill that finally allowed the debt ceiling to be raised in conjunction with budgetary cuts, was met with unhappiness in all directions. The Tea Party was certain it did not go far enough. Republicans grumbled over defense cuts and the loss of a balanced budget amendment. Democrats were unhappy generally, over the whole "crisis" even having arisen, the lack of solid revenue increases, and the President's willingness to sit on the sidelines while they tried to do the heavy lifting, only to "stab them in the back" by giving the GOP much of what it wanted, in terms if not in substance.

As the sound of gnashing teeth and exhaled breath finishes washing over the nation, it's best to take a moment and look closely at what the debt ceiling "crisis" outcome really was, and more importantly, what it all actually meant.