Friday, March 28, 2008

Quote of the Week

"What after all has maintained the human race on this old globe despite all the calamities of nature and all the tragic failings of [hu]mankind, if not faith in new possibilities and courage to advocate them?" -- Jane Addams (1860-1935)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wright is Right!

I know this is probably a day late and a dollar short, as they say, but I just gotta throw in my two cents on Dr. Jeremiah Wright's sermon or anyway several other people's two cents's with me shouting "Amen!" every third word. If you want to know what I thought about what the good Reverend said and how Obama distanced himself from it, just read this and this and this. And that oughta do it. Thank you, Tim Wise, Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III, and The Free Slave for takin' care of business. I thought maybe I was the only one until I found what you guys wrote.

By Way Of Apology...and Renewed Commitment

Dear Faithful Readers,

I know some of you have been sniffing around in spite of the fact that I took a little unannounced break after discovering that I have diabetes. That news alone would have been enough to give me pause, but it came on the heels of another set of procedures called for by the possibility that I had another even more dire condition, which turned out not to be so. Regardless, the last two months have been difficult at best and frankly, scary, as I got used to a whole set of new ideas and practices that will be with me now for the rest of my life.

I've gone through a lot of feelings. Shock. Dismay. Crushing disappointment. Panic. Fear. Depression. Determination. Overwhelmedness. Despair. And finally, acceptance. And even gratitude. That I can do this. That it is manageable (with rigorous attention and commitment). That in a world where people are starving to death and watching their children starve, in a world where people are being bombed in their own homes even as I write, in a world where human beings are languishing heartsick in cells and cages year after year like animals, some of them for no reason except that they are used to rationalize a government gone mad without restriction, a diagnosis such as mine is really not enough to be an excuse for the end of all joy.

Perspective is the name of the game now. And renewed commitment to the work I have been given to do. Enough with feeling freaked out and all that being freaked out brings with it.

I had the pleasure of having an unexpected lunch with a young woman of whom I am very fond on Monday. She was passing through town on her way across the country with her young cousin who admitted in embarrassment that she voted for George Bush because she believed he would "allow himself to be lead by God to do the right thing as a Christian leader." Needless to say, she's become somewhat disillusioned.

First of all, I assured her that she didn't vote the man in because he wasn't elected. He just stole two terms and the U.S. public let him do it.

"Well, why?" she asked petulantly. "When the French don't like something, they bring that country to a halt until they get what they want. The people in Spain go to the streets. What's wrong in the U.S. that everybody just watches what's happening and does nothing?"

I explained that we've been socialized to believe that money is more important than life, that wage labor is the only viable system, that the U.S. is the greatest nation on Earth and therefore deserves whatever it wants, that violence is the result of the victim's poor choices, that having stuff is the litmus test of personal worth, and that alienation is natural so escape (of all types) as a way of life is reasonable. I told her that this nation is careening in the direction of facism at a speed light would envy and that I'm not the only one who's noticed (see The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot by Naomi Klein or the video above as two of many examples available by now if you really can't see it staring you in the face on the nightly news).

In any case, I guess what has occured to me of late is that we act like we have forever. But my recent experiences have reminded me that we don't. Enough with the whining and complaining. We get serious or we die. Know what I mean?