Sunday, August 31, 2008
Dear Senator McCain,
I have some observations and questions to share. You speak much of experience and present yourself as a certain statesman. Yet, you resort to sneering contempt and petty emotional sarcasm - it would be better to hear you seriously discuss challenges facing the USA.
For instance: Gas Prices go up. Your experienced answer: "Drill for more!" Never mind the financial manipulation behind the price spike. Never mind that Peak Oil is a real world phenomena. Production and reserves are leveling off, while consumption pressures continue to rise. The fallout from this clash will increasingly disrupt our way of life. Yet, your, and the Republican's response is one of willful ignorance toward the fact that humanity is going to have to learn to survive on less and less and less oil. How will you wrestle with that challenge when you steadfastly ignore its validity?
When crisis strikes, will you repeat President Bush's immortal line: "No one could have imagined such a thing happening!" Remember that? It was Bush referring to the Reagan legacy levees that failed after Hurricane Katrina passed through New Orleans. The same dubious levees trained engineers had been warning about for decades - it's documented. Incidentally, Roosevelt's New Deal era levees held fast - it can be done.
Your website boosts: "Learn about John McCain's consistent position on succeeding in Iraq." There it is: month, after month, after endless month, you have been pleading for nothing but more weapons and troops.
Haven't you ever wondered about underlying causes? Or, do you believe America is above international considerations? Or, do you actually believe it's us or them? Is it a question of we're right and they're wrong... and, if we need to blow up the whole world proving it, so be it? An eye for an eye until the whole world is blind. Is that it?
For example, look at Russia's aggression into Georgia. You know, they also proclaim it's in self defense. Russia's wanton aggression in the face of world wide denunciation couldn't have happened had not the Bush Administration eviscerated the developing notion of a world wide standard of behavior. Russia is only emulating the Bush/Cheney doctrine that "My interests are the only ones that matter." Senator McCain, will we ever hear you speak to that open wound?
Senator McCain, remember when USA was the world's beacon of hope? Why was the Republican's New American Century (neocons) sect allowed to transform what should have been a considered and decisive police action against a group of terrorists into an endless hate breeding, resource squandering, bloody embarrassment of a byzantine war? I wonder: are the corporate profits really worth it? Senator McCain, do you appreciate how our standing has been reduced to the world's bully - everyone knows they must deal with us, but no one trust us. How will you restore the wreckage of America's once proud worldwide Moral Authority? By sending in more weapons and troops?
Senator McCain what about our Biosphere: that web of biology, air, water & earth. You know, that over reaching organism that makes life possible on this planet. In fact, what we humans are a part of. Does its health matter to you? Show us: explain how you see earth's current condition, and how you envision future challenges? Are you capable of looking beyond the Wall Street ledger-sheet mentality?
Senator McCain, what kind of leadership can you offer the next time our nation is struck with a mega natural disaster. How rapidly will you be able to assimilate unprecedented suffering, data, develop, communicate, and execute a response? After that work is underway, go out and address the American people... and the world, in a way that reassures, educates and prepares our citizens for the challenges at hand. Then, get up after a couple hours of fitful sleep and do it all over again.
Senator McCain, I mean no disrespect, I'm old enough to remember your VietNam heroism and some of the praise worthy highlights along your distinguished political career. You are an American of the highest caliber. Sorry, that's not enough for the next President. The coming years will demand someone with an up to date intelligent agile mind. You must admit, Senator Obama, with his young family, has more at stake in the future than we over the hill codgers. Don't underestimate Obama's learning abilities, competence, or patriotism - nor his stamina and heart to handle challenges we haven't even guessed at today.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
...I thought as their mantra swept over me: "Don't you know, no one has ever found an Evolutionary missing link, nothing is proven! Evolution is a joke! I'm telling you my God put the whole Universe here in six days, six thousand years ago, period!" Then came the all too predictable clincher: "How can you think differently, were you there?"
I started my response, but fell silent, too depressed to go on. Why try to discuss the beauty, poetry and reality of god's "intelligent design" - that is, the past many billions of years of ongoing creation - with friends who slam their ears and minds shut at any mention of evolution being Godly, beautiful and it's about time we begin trying to appreciate it?
I'll admit - I'm bewildered by the refusal of so many to wake up to God's fantastic infinity.
Where to start in trying to crack that shell of reinforced fear? Would it help to point out that though some scientist pontificate on absolute randomness, such talk should be taken with a grain of salt? Individual scientists, just like religious folk are filled with conceits and foibles. Why not admit we all strive for understanding, but are shackled by our own human tunnel-vision? Side opinions shouldn't detract from the essence of the scientific data that continues to be collected and digested, any more than religious fundamentalist, with all their deceptions, anger, and pick-pocketing, shouldn't be allowed to cloud religion's universal truths.
Or, would it help to confront the actual comment: "There are no Evolutionary missing links." Dear friend, what are you talking about? There are countless examples of transitional and "missing links" that aren't missing at all. Take the "Tunicates" for example; they are classified as "non-vertebrate chordate," because they are a telling link between non-backboned animals and those with back bones. There are volumes of catalogued examples clearly showing the steadfast development of life on God's good earth. But, one must look at it.
Too many condemn Evolution without ever knowing what it's about. This wouldn't be a big deal, if these same uninformed doubters weren't also demanding that our education system subscribe to their tunnel vision. Before condemning evolution, learn about its beauty and depth.
In this quest there's an excellent teacher in David Attenborough. His documentaries such as "Life on Earth" and "The Living Planet" series do a superb job of describing organisms and how they have evolved and built upon preceding generations. The story is awesome and the creatures are spectacular. Using real world examples he conveys Evolution's magnificant pageant of cumulative poetry in motion, revealing some of the countless fould within folds of harmonic complexity that resonate throughout creation.
Accept the challenge by viewing some of his many documentaries. Or, if the Internet is where you're at, look up "The Great Story." In contrast to Attenborough who's a naturalist through and through, these folks glory in religion, while conveying a sense of God's eon of Creation and its compatibility with Faith.
Finally, there's that: "Where you there?" slap. What is it asking? Was anyone of us there when a few people tussled over how to word Genesis, or the later New Testament? Was anyone of us there during the backroom discussions regarding how best to exploit Jesus' fantastic new message of love and redemption for empire and profit? Were you there... indeed. I don't know about then and there, but I do about here and now, and when walking about with my sense and heart receptive, the examples of an ongoing evolution are everywhere to be seen! God's creation, that is evolution, really is a beautiful, mysterious, overwhelming thing that must be recognized before one can ever hope to know Faith of love God.
What is Sciences Sin?
Recently, I discussed Creationism with a bright young student. She challenged me with remarks about the Earth's "true" short age; Grand Canyon being evidence of Noah's Flood; even claimed evidence that coal can be produced in a matter of months. She went on to explain God's plan included an imminent Armageddon - that is, destroying his own Creation. When I countered with facts debunking these notions she became defensive, saying that attacking someone's faith was a horrible thing to do.
It made me wonder: Why do so many feel compelled to embrace willful ignorance? By this I mean a willful ignoring of masses of real, verifiable and available evidence simply because it conflicts with one's own preconceptions and challenges one's fears. How does it do the God time and creation any credit to believe the "truth" can only be found within a single book?
What is science? Scientists - especially the great ones - started out as kids totally amazed at the world they saw and discovered around themselves. What's out there? How it works? Why it works the way it does? What it all means? At its core, science is this natural awe and curiosity at our surrounding creation us all grown up.
What is science's sin? Establishing straight-forward rules and guidelines in order to organize our inborn desire to pursue an understanding of the fantastic world we witness around us? These rules won't be bent for those who have convinced themselves they are gifted with superior insights. If those "superior insights" can't pass the established scientific hurdles they are not allowed within the arena of science. There are other realms these beliefs belong to, such as religion, philosophy, politics, art and music.
The best thing about science's rules, isn't what they reject, rather it's all they are open to. Science's guidelines are organized in a way that any member of humanity, from any point on our globe, has the opportunity to participate, even to revolutionize long held beliefs. As long as they are thoughtful enough to adhere to the rules while presenting verifiable arguments and convincing evidence and.
Remember the Biblical admonition: God surpasses all human understanding! Not one of us has the justification, nor the authority, to tag God with certitude. We should be clear and appreciative that science is one of humanity's paths toward an inkling of understanding, or truth if you prefer. Always remembering that other paths such as those provided by the religions that abound are also relevant - like the solid and void of a picture frame, both are needed to display the painting.
I've been told I don't understand the reality of the Bible. It's been explained God acted infallibly through his human agents. At every stage along the Bible's evolution God was there flowing into the pages to make it perfect.
The last time I listened to this opinion an image came to mind: There was a patient in an operating room, undergoing brain surgery. The world's foremost surgeon was there, a doctor of vast knowledge and skill. But, instead of performing the operation, the expert stands over a child giving step by step concise and complete directions, while the child performed the actual task. What are the chances of the child getting it right? Can it be any different when God communicates with myopic self-centered children?
Claiming the Bible is direct and undiminished from God's bosom is to imply people can be infallible. Isn't such a thing called hubris? Like adolescents who know it all, blind to every complexity, question or doubt. Or put another way, claiming the Bible is perfect, complete and infallible is like claiming a photo album can convey the truth of someone's life to a stranger.
Interestingly, when defending Biblical inerrancy scholars and preachers will quote the Bible, then follow with long winded personal interpretations. But, you know, if God where actually shepherding the Bible, those words would leap directly into the hearts of the reader/listener; without those endless and mostly dubious re-interpretations.
God is big, huge, beyond anything anyone of us can imagine. Won't we recognize that when reading, absorbing, witnessing the Bible (or any Holy Book) we interpret it through our individual eyes while weaving our own spirit into our understanding and further telling? This isn't denying the truths within sacred texts: it is admitting that God's mysteries and plan are beyond our human ability to grasp.
Most importantly, continuing to demand that there is: My Way Only! is nothing less than suicide for humanity future. Does your inner heart actually believe that destruction is God's plan for God's own miraculous Creation? Even if it does, does that give you the right to act without regard for the future? Who are you to give up on God's Creation, when you could be mistaken? Doesn't God abhor suicide? How can we hope to leave our children a healthy future without absorbing some additional basic truths and lessons, then moving on to face the coming challenges.
PS. For two thousand years every generation has its Christians convinced that God's cosmic rapture would happen in their life time. Everyone was mistaken, can't we take the hint?
God's not going to make it easy on us by intervening, no, no. God's keeping us in this for keeps - we must find our own passage through the coming challenges.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
I just came across this index.
It lists a couple dozen Letters to the Durango Telegraph Editor dating back to 2003. Glancing through them I found it sad how little had changed these past few years and now it's beginning to look like America just might want to continue this regime..... how disappointing.
Are Democrats and people of conscience and compassion... and enlightened self interest going to get up the gumption to challenge the right wing's folly, including the creationism thing (much more on that later)?
I say this because the willfully closed mind set of the right winger, is right there next to you, of the more liberal humanitarian persuasion: they are our friends and co-workers and family - and we've stood by too silent for too long. Time to call them on their destructive misconceptions. >> Gently, but solidly confront their assumptions.
We are in this together, it shouldn't be about bashing the other guy..... that road can only lead to utter destruction, it has happened before.... but humanity has never before so saturated our planet. Must we repeat that old tragedy?
If you believe in the family values of raising your kids and helping your parents through their lives and being a constructive part of a community... including people of divergent backgrounds and all, but still people who are the same, on the inside, in their souls...... then you better get pro active otherwise the corporate money monster is going to run over us once again.
TAKE BACK AMERICA
I over heard a reporter's interview with a voter - with emphasis he proclaimed: "I'm pro-life and I'm pro-military.... I don't trust Obama and I believe McCain's the only answer for this country's survival!"
I'm pro-life and I'm pro-military... " Pro-Life? How do you mean that? Pro-Life? Are you claiming you believe every human has a right to their life? If you are, I wonder if that feeling for the sanctity of life extends beyond birth? Maybe into childhood, into adolescence, through maturation and adulthood? Does that "Sanctity of Life" extend to the lives of far off people -people who have their own self sustaining belief systems? You with the "God Hates Abortionist!" signs, what do you mean "Life is Sacred?" Who's life is sacred?
In the same breath you pound your chest and proclaim " and I'm Pro-Military!" What do you mean: Pro-Military? Are you pro the way this Cheney/Bush Administration has fundamentally altered our military? How you ask?... through privatizing segments of governmental responsibility, creating huge financial windfalls for select corporate leaders. While - under our watch - a monstrously armed and militarized private corporate sector has been created. These are people and entities beholden to no one, excepting their own personal interests. (For information start by looking up Blackwater on the Web.)
Is Pro-Military allowing mercenaries to infest our USA governmental entities in order to siphon off yet more of our tax money?
Speaking about definitions: why must so many "Right to Lifers" focus only on the tenuous unborn life within a woman? A woman facing an agonized decision for herself and her already existing family... in deep respects a decision based upon self-defense? Why won't you offer any compassion or understanding to that struggling woman?
This brings to mind a cartoon, harsh in its way but very insightful: "Bush doesn't need to think about anything - he just believes things - so he's never conflicted by reality.
I believe it's time all of start thinking about reality again, at least if you want to believe in a healthy earth and society.
Back in 2004, during the Vice Presidencial debates, the question of the moment was: America's Right to "Go It Alone." Cheney proclaimed: "America will not allow anyone veto power!" Senator Edwards (and by extension the Democratic Party) could respond no better than to mumble meaningless platitudes.
Why couldn't Senator Edwards invoke the words of our United States Declaration of Independence? The last line of the first paragraph reads: "... a decent Respect to the Opinion of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to Separation."
Our Declaration of Independence and its signers granted no one veto power, however they did recognize a higher arbiter of correctness and a requirement that they be able to justify their actions in the eyes of the world!
Why couldn't the Democrat articulate that?
Why have we so easily misplaced our respect for the rest of mankind?
~ A historic inspiration worth recalling ~
Our Founding Fathers were all men of passionate, deeply held and defensible beliefs.
Yet, each one knew they needed the knowledge and experiences of their ideological opponents.
They allowed themselves the luxury of respecting their opponents and they appreciated that there was something to be learned from most everyone.
They had the humility to understand that no one of them held absolute insight.
And they had the integrity to be able to alter perspectives when new information justified it.
Shouldn't all of us reacquaint ourselves with this principle?
Because I'm disappointed
both in our establishment and in the public's docile acquiescence
to the steady flow of officialdom's
misinformation, destructive actions and unnecessary failures.
I'm heartbroken by
our governmental and corporate leaders
steadfast refusal to honestly examine
the undeniable challenges our society is facing.
Simply because fulfilling greed comes first.
The media is especially maddening
because they seem dedicated to broadcasting
delusion and misleading sensationalism
intent on distraction
rather than supporting
a substantive learning process.
I'm also a believer in our Founding Father's brand of Free Speech.
A Free Speech that wasn't about talking, so much as dialoging.
This form of speech requires an attuned receiver.
The listeners suspend judgment
to absorb what is actually being said
before returning to evaluation mode and judgment calls.
The benefit is that it allows us to better understand
why we should disagree -
or... it might open up
unexpected knowledge and potentials.
In dialogue once a speaker finishes, he, she reverts back to listening
It's an expression of
respect and acknowledging our mutual humanity...
a good thing to do.
I know I don't have any answers
but I also know I have something worthwhile
to inject into the greater dialogue
please read on.......