Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reflecting upon the moon landing and how far we have come

or as the editor to the Four Corners Free Press put it:
"The Dark Side of the Moon Landing" ;-)

At fourteen I got permission to camp out in the living room for three days running, no school, no play, little sleep. Seldom leaving the couch and then only for a quick pitstop frigstop & occasionally going outside to meditate on the actual crescent moon up there in the sky, then back to the TV.

Something fantastic was happening and I didn’t care how many times I listened to repeated news-flashes gone stale because I was determined to hear every next world premiere news-flash as it happened. Besides, the repetitions echoing on the TV networks gave me a chance to digest the story. Even better there were these great side-stories about mission details that never made the news shows.

Come Neal Armstrong’s small step for a man, but big leap for mankind and it was my Dad’s Birthday. The living room was full of family and a few hours of celebration infused with the profoundest aura: For the first time ever! People were actually standing on that midnight orb of my imagination ~ while the whole world watched!

After the party I remained glued to that TV until Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin blasted off from the moon to rejoin Michael Collins and begin their return to earth. My, and I dare say humanity’s, gaze upon the moon has never been the same. It was a fantastic achievement, exemplifying America’s ingenuity, can do and promise.

Yet, even at my tender age there was also an unshakable sadness about the moon landing. The man who made it all possible had been taken from us by forces unseen but resented ever after. It felt as though along with Kennedy a certain attitude of solidarity, (or was it just civility?), with the rest of humanity was systematically being abandoned.

Championed by Ronald Reagan and his driven economics ~ along with all the dirty-tricks needed to make it happen. Before our eyes the rest of the world was becoming nothing more than a potential profit point.

I believe it’s this evolution in our collective outlook that has step by step and season by passing season, ushered in today’s reality of a world full of intensely pissed off people running amok. Nor to be forgotten is the creation of uncountable masses of dispossessed refugees huddled in destitute pockets throughout the world. For what? So westerners can pretend living has no limits?

For nearly fifty years I’ve listened to the beautiful promises made by politicians, businessmen and scientist. Great strides have undoubtedly been made, but I’ve noticed there has been a tremendous cost attached to everyone of our successes. Disaster after disaster the battle cry remains: “Move along; don’t look back; let’s not dwell on it (read “think” about it); put the past behind you; move along now.” All these years watching “solutions” consistently creating more “unanticipated” problems than anyone of 'em solved is really disheartening.

All the while the masters of the universe continue selling each other more weaponry and ideological garbage, and our major religions continue playing their role of turning “God’s Will” into bludgeons for beating everyone who makes them uncomfortable.

The moon landing was a political act meant to prove we could do it, thus awarding us a feeling of invincibility. Why than, have our ‘quality of life’ issues imploded?

As much as I loved it back then, today I can’t help but think people would be far better off pulling their heads out of their heavens and refocusing their attention back down here, to this incredible little battered blue gem of a planet.

The one and only speck in the vast void of our Universe that can claim to be the cradle of all life. And, incidentally, the only home our future has.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

why is the right wing scared of Sonia Sotomayor?

I've submitted the following letter to the Durango Herald editor:

Regarding Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination

Those damning words keep ringing in my ears: “ A wise Latina woman would do a better job of judging than a wise white male.” Quite the affront against those powerful white guys who were always convinced they alone possessed omniscient judgement.

On the other hand, one of the hallmarks of a judge is an internalized sense that they, personally, do indeed possess clearer judgement/responsibility skills, along with a greater sense of obligation and duty. Makes me wonder why the right wing knocks Sotomayor for her healthy confidence, when balanced confidence is part and parcel of being a successful judge, let alone Justice of our US Supreme Court.

What’s below the surface? Why are right wing extremists so angry & scared of this confident little lady? Are the likes of Senator Sessions, Coulter, Limbaugh, et. al, too unprepared for allowing a Sotomayor to sit as an equal in this ultimate establishment Club of nine?

Are they worried because they don’t want the like’s of a Sotomayor having a chance to present her perspective directly into the high court? And, what would be wrong with that? Looking at the demography of this country it is hard to understand how people who trumpet “democracy” can despise someone who’s only sin is recognizing who she is and being proud of it.

Sotomayor’s public record reflects decades of honorable, very competent judicial service to her country. Our Supreme Court needs a good shot of main street reality. Left wing, right wing, and all who are in between, need this person, judge Sonia Sotomayor, to take her rightful place at the “round table” of nine respected elders, for all her merits, glowing achievements, intelligence, humanity & pride.