Here's to wishing Rev. Terry Jones a wonderful New Year, and an opportunity for multipliers of malice to become transformed.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a Congress-person was stirring, not even John McCain's crab louse.
The Legislation was hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
Congress was nestled all snug in their lobbyist-funded beds,
While visions of the political progress danced in their heads.
And Michelle in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the Washington Mall there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter (the Secret Service was on it too).
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
This episode asks if "taxes" has become the new "abortion" in American Politics. Also, what is required of all of us to make a more perfect union. And, finally, the remembering that the Church is constantly reforming, constantly changing. Music from The Fire Tonight and Daniel Bailey.
I hereby announce my candidacy for the 2012 Election.
Well, maybe not. Though I am a natural-born citizen and have lived in America for the requisite 14 years, I am not at least 35 years of age. You can imagine my disdain at this rule. I'm sure when I reach 35 I'll say, "This is still young." I don't dispute this, I'm simply saying an adequate leader doesn't need an age requirement. People say that age grants education and wisdom, but I doubt this point. There have been presidents that could have used another lifetime before they became president. Yet, I can die for my country, but I cannot lead it. Damn the irony.
Throughout the past ten years we've seen the worst and best of leaders. We've seen people capture and inspire, others fall, far. It's hard finding a good leader, it's even harder defining a good leader. The qualities vary from one person, one set of experiences, to another. I'd like to think that President Obama is a good leader, but time will tell. Right now, I can tell what's going on, don't know who to trust, and well, it's confusing. I need someone willing to clear up the confusion, and compromise. Yep. I said it. A good leader compromises. A good leader gives and takes, because that's progress. To the 'whole' forward sometimes you have to take a step back to get the 'parts' to walk a bit further.
So here we are. We all know who's going to run for president for 2012, just ask each other – everyone has a different opinion.
Yet, let me clear it up:
I would run for President in 2012, if I was old enough.
I would run for President in 2012, if I could get anybody to give my campaign money, or if I had any money to run a campaign.
I would run for President in 2012, if, like all of Washington, D.C. I want to let the media run a campaign and I would just talk to those issues.
I would run for President in 2012, if...if...if...
Conservatism doesn't work any more. Liberalism doesn't work any more. There, I said it. It was quite liberating. I almost feel like breaking into a chorus of Queen. Or something.
This past year has been quite fascinating to watch. I watch staunch liberals get mad at Obama, and staunch conservatives get mad at republicans. Then, they got mad at each other. Then the Tea Party capitalized on the fact that the respective 'isms' are on their deathbeds. I'd like to have a death panel, on the 'isms' we call Liberalism and Conservatism. Perhaps we don't understand that systems of thought aren't supposed to be defined categories, but descriptions of language, of things people find important. Systems of thought should not close off the mind, but open it up and spark imaginative thought. But, perhaps I'm too optimistic.
Now, people will say I'm a wishy-washy Liberal. I laugh. Others have said, "You're not a patriot." Fact is, I really don't care about one system of thought over another. I suffer from a case of pragmatism. I've been bitten by the snake of creative thought, so sue me. C.S. Peirce (pronounced "purse") said in 1878, "It appears, then, that the rule for attaining the third grade of clearness of apprehension is as follows: Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object." Simply put: whatever our idea, we need to see what practical effects our ideas might have.
Pragmatism requires conversation and consensus-building. It's not an easy way of doing life. Yet, it cuts through the mask of liberalism or conservatism. Don't get me wrong, political theory is necessary, but we might be better suited to ask a question alongside the assertion our particular 'ism' gives us. Quite frankly, I don't care how idealistic or honest to principles an idea might be, if we aren't interested in outcomes, in conceiving possible outcomes, what's the point? Moreover, pragmatism centers itself in the present, and recognizes the complexity of current thought, and the preceding thought.
I suppose I should care about Wikileaks. I suppose that I should be concerned, at least that's what the media tells me. However, I find myself completely apathetic concerning Wikileaks.
The short of it is, that I don't need a release of corporate and government documents to know that corruption abounds. You're going to find it on the left and the right. Sure, I like the call for responsible, investigative journalism. And, yes, an informed public aids discussion and voting. Yet, I'm convinced that no matter how informed the public is concerning corruption, it will still continue. Those involved in corruption will find new avenues. Wikileaks is similar to spanking a child: it's intense, rash, but the child will simply figure out ways to keep acting the way they do, without getting caught. Perhaps that's a flawed metaphor, or maybe a metaphor isn't even needed, but it was worth the try.
Do people seriously think that release of documents will reform politicians and politics? Hardly. The sea of mistrust, called the American People, think that focusing on the federal government will change things. Some have called for increased state rights. Either case provides no solution to the problem. If politicians can keep communities divided political progress slows, and we can worry about tax cuts for the rich instead of providing for the middle class. While we divided about the DREAM Act or DADT, moral issues mind you, Republicans use unemployment benefits hostage for tax cuts. We need passage of the DREAM ACT, repeal of DADT, and to recognize our need for mutual self-interest.
Taxes are the new "abortion." If you can get the media hot on the scent of "taxes" you can control the news cycle. Then, because Americans get their talking-points from TV, that's what the public talks about. No, Republicans don't have to come out publicly against the issues that matter because everybody is talking about taxes. Until Americans reclaim their righteous minds, the we will continually be divided by issues that benefit far less than those it hurts.
Wikileaks is our prime example of the loss of the American mind. Sure, this documents demonstrate some ridiculous stuff occurring, but do we not have a mind to recognize these things are already occurring, already happening? Did we need the media to validate our thoughts? I have been told that "we're the land of the free, home of the brave." That one song we sing and stand-up for says that. But, I think we've become "the land of the weak, home of the conscience-less." As long as we remain divided in our communities, squabble over issues that are not concerned with humanity, as long as we prefer ignorant self-interest over mutual self-interest, we'll be lying to ourselves each time we sing "The Star Spangled Banner."
Wikileaks? Just an excuse for us to care about something other than our communities. If you want to "leak" some valuable information, look at those in your community who go unfed; look into the institutions within your community not connecting with their community; look into your own life and see where the truth in love demands to be spoken. Corruption? It's nothing new, just a symptom of politics. Yet, must our communities mirror that? I hope our courage, humility, and freedom demands the resounding answer: no.
As published on PolicyDiary.comIn these tough economic times people are willing to do nearly anything. This is the story of one person, and their journey to the Crossroads.
In these tough economic times people are willing to do nearly anything. This is the story of one person, and their journey to the Crossroads.
At the end of my rope, I, America, went to Congress. I walked into the rotunda, and I fell down on my knees. Seeing that nobody noticed me, I went to Mitch McConnell’s office. There, I fell down on my knees. He would have none of my groveling. I proceeded to visit all of Congress, and I asked them for mercy, saying, “Save me if you please!”
I meandered through the halls, walked onto the floor of the House of Representatives, and pounded the gavel. “Does anybody here have ride out of this hell I’m living? Does anybody have a way out?” I didn’t care whether it was a Republican or Democrat, I simply needed a way out. Nobody seemed to know me, America. Nobody seemed to care that I’m struggling to make it. It was almost as if they didn’t know me, America.
I figured while I was there I’d call for the repeal of DADT and passage of the DREAM Act, but deaf ears were all around. It was as though I was just a visitor, a transient passing through the country – I had no citizenship. In that moment, those in Congress gave me the ‘right’ to vote to make me feel better – to make me feel like my voice actually mattered. With gavel in hand, I slammed the bench as hard as I could, but nobody noticed.
I'm usually a nice fella. I'm honest with folks, respectful, and listen to their stories. I love people, all people. I appreciate those who disagree with me because we can have some fruitful conversations. But, with DADT, I've had it. I've you're not willing to support it, you're a Dumb Ass Doesn't Think.
Now, you might have qualms about homosexuality, and, if that's the case, work through them. Don't let DADT be your final words on the subject. Me? I grew up in the North-South-Midwest and homosexuality was not accepted. It was not until I went to college I found the conversation more accepted, but even then, LGBTQI groups were cast to the fringes. As an Ally, I don't pretend to know the experience, but I'm doing my best as a straight male to engage the questions.
Yet, I come back to the central argument of love. My religion calls me to love, and all other claims are subordinate to love. In my mind, if it does not reflect love, it isn't 'right'. No, I'm not talking about the erotic love, but the openness and freedom, authenticity and honesty, grace and hope that love demands. Our society is about as open as the military.
Wait. A. Minute.
Our obsession to remained closed-off, and hope that we can 'just get the job done', no questions asked, doesn't work anymore. We don't live in the 1950's where white-straight-males rule the 'house'. We don't live in the 1950s where the majority of folks were largely uneducated and college degrees were reserved for the extraordinary well-privileged.
We refuse DADT because we don't want to be labeled with DADT: Dumb Asses Doesn't Think. We are asking questions, we demand use of the conscience. We were taught to use our minds, and we have used our minds to find that DADT doesn't work. It is cognitive dissonance at its finest. Do not tell schoolchildren to use their minds, then support DADT. Do not stand up and prevent benefits for the unemployed, then support DADT. Or maybe, in the end game, those Dumb Asses that Don't Think are simply in it to demean humanity, and try to re-establish their dominance. Keep the poor, poor; keep the oppressed, oppressed. Well, by golly, those days are long gone.
My conscience won't allow it, and Lady Liberty is yearning to breathe the deep, rich air of equality for all people.