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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Rise up

A "leftist" acquaintance called me last week, wanting my support for a proposal he is planning. In the ensuing discussion I mentioned that I don’t listen to the public affairs programming on our local "leftist" radio station anymore, opting for Al Franken on the "Air America" network. His predictable response was "But he’s pro-Israel."

It seemed like a waste of time to respond to this, but I did, telling him that Israel is one issue among many, that Al Franken is human and can change his mind, and that issue by itself is not enough to make me stop listening. (I should mention that I also am "pro-Israel," at least in the sense that I would like to see the State of Israel be a paragon of honor, justice, mercy, fairness, peace, reconciliation, and kindness worldwide. I also would like to see Israel be a free state, with equal rights and freedoms for all "races" and religions.) I went on to say that the "leftist" station has the same tired programming every day, the same people call in every day, and it’s boring. Al Franken is funny, he gets his facts straight, and he doesn’t take any crap from "right wingers." He doesn’t give the Bush crime family any power, which for some strange reason doctrinaire "leftists" insist on doing. They hate Bush, from a position of powerlessness, and that's the strange world that they live in. I happen to not hate Bush, and don't consider him powerful. I consider him tragic, a waste of a human incarnation. And very temporary.

This didn’t go over very well, but I tend not to take any crap from "leftists" or "rightists." This particular "leftist" also tried to paint himself as the vicar of virtue, fooling only one person, himself.

Then we have the so-called "right." "Rightist" Fox News anchor Brit Hume’s reaction to the London bombings was "...when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, 'Hmmm, time to buy.'" Read about it here.

Worse things were said by other Fox luminaries. One said he wished France would have gotten the Olympic bid so they could be bombed.

Many things can be indicated by these examples, but polarization is not my first choice. The Biblical story of the Tower of Babel comes to mind as an allegory of what we have today.

It isn’t just about politics either. I find it difficult, if not impossible, to communicate in plain language with just about anyone these days. If I say something, I get a response that is as if I said something completely different. I repeat what I actually said, and get the same, or another, response, still not to what I actually say. The third time tends to be the charm, but usually results in the subject being changed.

I don’t look at Bill O’Reilly, Brit Hume, Rush Limbaugh, or any other of the minions of the "right" as being proponents of a belief system. They are all professional liars, and highly paid ones at that. I actually had a brief encounter with Brit Hume many years ago. He was an arrogant know-it-all then, the same as now.

"Right-wing" isn’t a state of being. Sociopathic liar is. I have mentioned before in this blog that in a mass industrial system, self-worth is gleaned by rising to the top of some fraction of the mass system, some bureau or division, or some fragment of an industry. For the minions of Fox News, it is TV, and the "news" division. It matters not that the "news" is spun, faked, and misrepresented. The medium is the message. Power lies in the "face-time" one gets to strut and fret upon the stage. And then be heard no more.

During the invasion of Iraq, shameless former colonel Oliver North had troops yell "Fox rocks" into a microphone. Gee, war is fun.

Or was fun. Now that the fun has gone out of invading supposedly defenseless countries, we are not likely to fall for the next invasion so easily. And the combination of high gas prices and job losses has likely caused a bit of second guessing from some previously compliant propagandees.

But what about the Tower of Babel syndrome? If we can’t carry on an intelligent conversation, does this country have any hope? The level of dialogue has been so debased that the interaction of chimpanzees looks more effective and civilized.

Still an incurable optimist, I believe better days lie ahead. Another reason I like Al Franken, Stephanie Miller, and Ed Schultz is that they take the issues head on. With humor, sound reasoning, and self-assurance, they stand up to the supposed "right wing" challenges, and point out the phoniness and posturing of the arguments.

We all can do that. Whether it is "leftists" or "rightists," the debasement of human interaction should be challenged whenever and wherever it appears. If Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh have their way, we would be back to the days of lynching. They say things meant to incite violence against whomever they oppose. They should be in jail, and if there is any justice in the world, they will be.

The same goes for the Bush crime family. They should all be in jail, breaking rocks in the hot sun, and for the rest of their sorry lives. They are as low a form of human being as there can be, responsible for the murders of well over 100,000 people, and the radioactive poisoning of generations to come. They of course will pay for their crimes in the Great Beyond, but that’s no reason for human society to let them go Scot-free on this plane of existence. It is the duty of civilized humanity to bring these criminals to justice. To do less is to debase our humanity, and to share in their destiny.

Only then can we begin to embark on a civilized path. Bringing the Bush crime family to justice will be humanity’s way of speaking the truth, of saying that what is is. Lying to fool people into backing a war is lying to fool people into backing a war. Trying to set up a puppet government is trying to set up a puppet government. Treason is treason. Murder is murder. Ignorance is not strength. It is ignorance. War is not peace. It is war.

From this one start - bringing the Bush crime family to justice, human civilization can begin to return to the joy of honest human interaction, to business ethics, to equitable distribution of income and wealth, to caring for the planet, and to treating one another with respect. We will not achieve any of these goals as long as we honor falsehood, treason, murder, and despoilment of our ecosystem. Truth cannot be attained through falsehood. Kinship cannot be attained through murder. Citizenship cannot be attained through treason. And harmony with the environment cannot be attained through despoilment. The choice is ours. To impeach or not to impeach – is there really a question?

Or, as Bruce Springsteen put it, "Rise up." We are better than this. We can do better! We are human beings! We were not born to be chumps! Like Jesus, throwing the money changers out of the temple, we can throw these fakers, these cutthroats out of our temple. We can amount to something! We can respect ourselves! Let's get going before it's too late, and we're really sorry! Time is wasting!


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