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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.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Turning our lives around

The “Washington Reskins” logoThe mainstream news media have been hyping the death of "Washington Redskins" player Sean Taylor for the last several days. He was shot in his home by intruders, who apparently were there to burglarize, but were surprised when he appeared. Four men have been charged with his killing.

Taylor's murder is seen as tragic because he was a professional football player. He was described as the National Football League's "hardest hitter." Here's an example.

Another cliché being tossed about is that Taylor had been "turning his life around," after years of association with criminal elements. It would be nice if we could hear the same about our president.

But I digress. A pro football player "turning his life around" is part of our national mythology.

Advancing another element of our national mythology, the news media are making much of the grieving process for players, fans, and members of the "Redskin family." Here's an example.

Reality check: It is tragic when anyone is murdered. It is not more tragic when a football player is murdered. The game has degenerated to a cheap thrills spectacle of brutality and maiming. When the game was invented, men "blocked" other men to prevent them from "tackling" the man carrying the ball. It was a violent game, but mild compared to today's bread and circus spectacle. Look again at the "Pro Bowl hit." This is not sport.

Almost comical is the hype about how the "Redskin" players are closing ranks, bonding together in grief. The "Redskins" do not have red skin. They have brown skin and ecru colored skin, commonly known as "white." Looking at their player roster, it's hard to tell if there are any other colors represented, but red does not appear to be one of them.

The name "Redskins" is meant to symbolize "Native Americans," who, though a diverse and complex collection of tribes, are stereotyped as fierce warriors. A "hard hitter" would fit perfectly on a team of "Redskins." This is about as close as "Native Americans" come to getting any respect in this not-so-native culture. It's a bit strange, isn't it, that no team is named after the 7th Cavalry? Maybe some day in the future we'll have teams called the Abu Ghraibers, the Guantanamos, or the Extraordinary Renditioners.

I'm kind of partial to having a team called the Traitors. The Washington Traitors. Every Thanksgiving we could have them play the "Patriots." The team mascot would be a hopping, jumping Dick Cheney, complete with blunderbuss.

Still another aspect of the hype is that the "Washington Redskins" is a business. It is a money-making operation. It has a marketing campaign, a business strategy, income, expenses, and, most importantly, profits. When you "root" for the "Redskins" you "root" for a business. Go, the owners and management of the Washington Redskins!

The business of the "Washington Redskins" is brutality. Not mere brutality for brutality's sake. Brutality as public spectacle. Money is made by filling stadiums with hysterical "fans" who pay to see men brutalize other men. Vast additional revenues are made by broadcasting the games on television.

The mythology of the "team" bonding together is largely an illusion. Players become members of the team through the college draft, trade, and by "free-agency." They are completely interchangeable with players from other "teams," and represent the cities in which they play only because that is where their "home" stadiums are located. The entire "Redskin" team could be traded for the entire Green Bay team, and immediately become "Packers." They would be real packers only because they pack their suitcases. All football players are packers. A few of them use the activity as a symbol of their manliness, wearing green and gold uniforms. When the "Packers" play the "Redskins," it is a showdown of the manliness of packing versus the manliness of pretending you're an "Indian." Sometimes when I'm feeling unmanly I pack a suitcase while wearing moccasins. The earth trembles.

The death of Sean Taylor was a great tragedy. He was in a loving relationship, and recently became a father. His death was not tragic because he was a "Redskin," a "hard hitter," or that he helped a multimillion dollar business make multimillions of dollars. It was tragic because he was a human being who was wantonly murdered by other human beings. It is happening all over the country on a daily basis. And, thanks to our president and his criminal gang, it is happening in "Iraq" and "Afghanistan," among other places. We have a lot of "turning our lives around" ahead of us if we have any desire at all of de-murderizing our civilization.

We can start with impeachment proceedings.

Here's a song to sing when facing a murderer. Here's a video of some "Redskin" fans. Here's the "Redskin" cheerleaders. Maybe they're embarrassed.


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