Friday, November 20, 2015

For Every Drop of Blood... For Every Tear Shed...

The circumstances of our time that occupy our attention by the force with which they press their hurtful presence into the vulnerable flesh of our shared humanity keep us wide-eyed and broken-hearted. We witness the pain of those whose flesh and hearts are torn asunder by the brutality of cruel actors in our midst. Men, women, and children are daily torn apart by the harsh and inhumane edges that fly indiscriminately through the air we breathe, destroying the places we once found to be safe. Bodies are literally being torn apart, ripped limb from limb by actors whose hearts have been hardened by their own inhumanity, and by cruel circumstance.

Blood everywhere. Ominous smoke-filled skies bear witness to habitats once bubbling with hopes and dreams... Now rubble. Men and women cut down in the prime of life; a few blowing themselves to unrecognizable bits and pieces in their quest to express the hopelessness cultivated by a warped sense of being. Some believe they are doing the will of a god whom they believe beckons them to a new and better world. The noise of war, and the strife all around, deafens and numbs so absolutely that it becomes impossible to distinguish between the call and the rebuke of their God. Between Good and Evil there exists a gulf of amorality. Between those who care and those who don't, are those who celebrate their corrupt sense of being as if it were a  necessary virtue... An existential prerequisite... A badge of honor.

Wars and rumors of wars grab our attention and occupy us in ways that foster a disequilibrium which is in essence the state in which we have come to exist. In this state we stagger from one scene of death and destruction to the next. From Iraq to Syria... From France to Mali... From Oklahoma City to Paris. From Colorado Springs, Colorado, to San Bernardino, California. The bleeding and the burning predominates in our Media-cultivated subconscious. In the absence of a profoundly critical sense of awareness despair replaces hope, and fear corrupts our yearning for community. In this kind of environment the carnival barker out-shouts the sage. The self-serving opportunist builds a monument to raw ambition. And all this while our country in particular and the world in general lags in its need of moral leadership. The signs of the times are obscured by dollar signs. And, of course, the merchants of death and their faithful servants fill coffer after coffer, all the while ignoring the trail of grief that runs parallel to their profit margins.

Let us pause for a moment and balance ourselves. Let us occupy again that place in our lives where we are in fact and in deed the determiners of our destinies. In the midst of every effort to constantly occupy us with a life-sucking pessimism, let us find a place and a moment to recalibrate our sense of being co-creators of our world. It is not that the whole world has gone mad. It is not that we have all of a sudden lost our moral compass as a civilization. In the midst of all that is so disastrously terrible, are voices calling us to account for what we are now experiencing as the overwhelming expressions of Man's inhumanity to Man. Let us be a part of that choir of hope-filled voices. Let us join our souls together with those who even now are requiring an accounting for the apparent madness that impacts us all through our connectedness of being.

For every child laying dead on a beach or in a shot-up or blown-up building somewhere, a thousand children hope and pray for a more secure world. Let us be loving family to these children. Let us reach out to them with all our substance. Let us open our borders and our doors to them and to their kin. Let us join forces against those who would allow fear to deny the widow and the orphan a place among us contrary to the values that we claim as an exceptional people. For every violent incident in a city somewhere there are a hundred cities committing to work for a more just and and a more peaceful world.

Let us in this moment recognize and affirm the inseparable link between our yearning for Peace and the necessity for Justice in this our world. Let us be a part of that movement for Justice and Peace in our own cities, and towns, and districts, and countries. In the presence of the injustice that destabilizes communities and countries, there must be a world willing to work together for greater equity. Let us get involved. Let us say something. Let us write something. Let us do something to make a difference. Speak up. Act up. We remain silent and complacent to our own detriment, because our connectedness of being will not spare us the pain that our fellow humans must witness and endure.

Against the cycle of harshness and pessimism that would engulf us, we who hope for a more peaceful world must rise up against the clamor of desperation that would have us believe that all is lost. Let us become sources of warmth and light in the presence of doom and gloom. The voice of Reason demands that we not ignore the mayhem that jolts us so profoundly. That voice requires us to look beneath and beyond all the superficial analysis to find the true causes of the sickness that is becoming an epidemic in our midst.

For every drop of blood... For every tear shed... For every life lost... For every limb and every heart broken... We, yes... you and I, must resolve to never give up hope... We must resolve to never give in to despair... We must never stop working for a better world here and now. We, through our singular and collective resolve, can be bulwarks of the promise that through Love, expressed as justice for all, we can conquer Fear and its torment. We can build oases in the desert places where hate has scarred the landscape of our lives, and brought death where life once flourished. Let us be like that. Let us live like that. Let us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Who The Cap Fits...

It does not matter how rich he is... A fool is a fool is a fool.

The predicament of moneyed fools lusting after political power is nothing new. History is full of examples of such characters. They come and go in every generation. The definition of a fool here is one who does not know, and knows that he does not know, but does not care that he does not know. What he lacks in terms of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding; he makes up for with vile braggadocio. What the fool lacks in accomplishment, he makes up for with pomp and circumstance.

In a superficial world all an ambitious fool needs to know is how to look and sound the part. Ceremony becomes the vehicle for conquering the crowd... Artistry becomes the substitute for real substance. Looking the part suffices for the credulous. Add to this the desire on the part of many in his audience to be as "successful" as he seems to be, and we have in every sense of the sentiment... A fool's paradise.

Stop wondering who l am talking about. In the words of Ludwig Wittgenstein, a disciple of Sigmund Freud...  "Don't think, look!"... At your television sets that is. It's that season of our political lives.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Note to University of Missouri's President Tim Wolfe... On Racism - The facts on the ground vs The line in the sand

In America today and in other places around the world, the tormented hound called bigotry barks loudly...and incessantly. The resounding terror of its constant noise sometimes shake to its very foundations the communal aspirations of a world that yearns for greater civility. But beyond the terrorizing bark of the hounds of bigotry, reality bites. The inevitability of change is a fact of life staring down the pack of tormented barkers across the lines that they have drawn in the ever shifting sand of their tenuous reality.  Day by day, year by passing year, they find themselves having to rationalize their irrationality to a world evolving to greater degrees of moral and cultural literacy.

We no longer need to psychoanalize the bigot, that work has been done. And what we know for sure is that beneath the mask of terror that the racist hater wears is a soft yellow core of fear. Beyond the show of force that they must constantly exhibit, is an insecurity that finds its reason for being at the base of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. For them this is about survival in a world that now challenges their existential assumptions. They find threats everywhere outside of their ever shrinking world. The more that world shrinks, the louder their bark. But that bark will eventually become a whimper... That is the inevitable destiny of the pathetic course that they have chosen. Racism and its expressive bigotry is the function of a way of seeing that bets the viability of its own existence on the oppression of "others". In the prophetic words of Robert Nesta Marley:  "Now the weak must get strong,... Oh what a tribulation!"

There are white men in the South today with the Confederate flag tattooed all over their bodies, while their children and grandchildren proudly and lovingly bear the children of black men. In ever-changing circumstances like these it is up to those old soldiers to opt for their own redemption by learning to love their children's children. We have a President of these United States of America who is a living testament to this reality. That may be a reason why the South is so threatened by the reality of this President Barack Hussein Obama. He is the very real expression of their unsustainably primitive anxieties. The "facts on the ground" of American life are about to overtake "the lines in the sand" of an unsustainable legacy of fear.  And fear, my friends, is the womb in which hate is carried. The shaking ground that we feel from time to time is a precursor to ...and a cause of the necessary abortion that must be effected to save the lives of the bearers of this terrible offspring of developmentally warped parents. 

And so, Mr Wolfe, you are being cordially invited to get the hell out of the way of a tide you can no longer pretend is not rising. In the words of  your neighbors at the University of Alabama ... "Roll Tide!". The time has come when you must either change your ways... Or perish in the downstream of an angry deluge.

Monday, November 2, 2015

That Voice Crying in the Wilderness

At the very core of our idealism as a nation is a philosophical insistence that: “… All persons are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. This is the central idea informing the exceptionalism we claim as a nation. The preachers among us constantly remind us of the indelible imprint of the Judeo-Christian influence on our sense of who we are as a nation. Those who insist on the validity of the fundamental ideals informing our nation’s origins, it’s growth and it’s development; must never forget that our core religious belief is founded in a moral and ethical relationship with the God of Abraham and Moses. This is a Being who, throughout History, has declared on behalf of the disadvantaged, the oppressed, the widow and the orphan, and the wanderer seeking a place to build a better life for self and kin. 
If we have ears to hear we will pause and listen to the consistent call to true community that proceeds from a righteous Creator. That would be HIS/HER voice calling out to us from the “burning bush” at the center of our communal experience. That voice is becoming a louder and louder presence in the many heated places where inequity is rooted in our social and political environment. It is a voice that demands that we reign in our scandalous propensity to the kind of violence that issues in torture and murder and wars for profit. It is a voice that calls us to account for the innocent blood that we are complicit in shedding in our own nation, and around the world. The Power from which that voice emanates is defined in the reality that we are inextricably connected in our being, and are therefore essentially affected by all the circumstances that touch each of our lives. This connectedness of being transcends all national and tribal distinctions.
The voice of our supreme moral and ethical Source declares in no uncertain terms that, as a nation, we must take off the boots of moral ignorance which weigh us down in the miry clay of injustice. Those boots keep us from advancing overdue liberty-promoting actions toward our fellow persons withering away as captives of an unjust system. They wither away in Guantanamo and our other prisons, known and unknown. These captives yearn for deliverance from the liberty-suppressing, life-thwarting circumstances prevalent around them. The undeniable dynamism of that Voice holds our feet to the fires of Justice. Cover our ears as we might, that same voice echoes disturbingly from the distant “wilderness” of our beginnings as a nation. A nation founded on the ideals of Liberty, Equality, and Justice, as endowments of our common Creator.
Those among us who would “preach” to us about our religious foundations are required to have an exegetical moment that is ontologically meaningful. A nation that claims the God of Moses as its moral standard-bearer cannot continue to ignore the call of this same God “to do justly, and to love mercy”. This is not a moment in which we can comfortably resort to the kind of meaningless obfuscation that calls our crimes "mistakes”. Slavery was, and is a crime. Racism is criminal behavior. Killing innocent men, women, and children with convenient drone strikes is a crime. The predatory behavior of investment bankers is criminal. A for profit healthcare system that denies care in order to cull a profit for investors and shareholders is legally and morally reprehensible. Criminalizing and imprisoning the victims of addictive substances is a morally bankrupt indulgence. Building jails as investment opportunities is in and of itself an injustice that reeks of criminality.
Repeating platitudes that comfort those who choose various convenient states of inaction while ignoring the need for change will only cement us in a place of cultural and spiritual decadence. Our claims to moral and political exceptionalism are meaningless in the face of our unwillingness to deal with the contradictions in our midst. It is time that we renew our commitment to the faith expressed in our foundational rationale for being America… Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. Beyond the parochialism of our claim to some special existential privilege; ours is a nation that claims a Faith based on an understanding of Salvation that is rooted in an act of Liberation. That Faith resonates in the powerful vibrations of one Robert Nesta Marley when he declares with the emphasis of well chorded drums:  "Jah come to break downpression (every manifestation of oppression)… Rule equality… Wipe away transgression... Set the captives free… Set the captive free!… Set the captive free!"

Like Lilies In Spring

There is a bulb buried deep inside us all that longs for the end of the season of dormancy. It contains, and is the symbol of all our ...