Friday, April 23, 2021

of Serious Thoughts: Again A Nation Weeps

of Serious Thoughts: Again A Nation Weeps:   Today is April 16, 2021.     What a horrible statistic was announced today by CNN: “45 th   mass shooting in the United States since the A...

Friday, April 16, 2021

Again A Nation Weeps

 Today is April 16, 2021.  What a horrible statistic was announced today by CNN: “45th mass shooting in the United States since the Atlanta area spa shooting on March 16” . . . CNN considers a mass shooting incident to be “if 4 or more people are shot and wounded or killed”.

That includes the incident of today in Indianapolis, Indiana.  It all happened within a month!

 

How can that be acceptable to a so-called educated, advanced civilized country?  Damn the NRA, damn the Republicans in Congress or anyone who opposes gun control—this can’t be accepted as ‘the norm’ in our nation!  All the varying voices of protest against violence must be respected.  The American public wants it stopped—I don’t know the percentage number, but it clearly is the majority that want this kind of outrage to end.

 

How have guns become so sacrosanct that their ‘right to be’ exceeds that of human life?  It is an absurdity from every direction that automatic weapons of war are available for purchase at local stores.  No other country allows such an absurdity!

 

Has our nation become so atheistic that the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ has no power or meaning against the Almighty Gun?  The ferocity of opposition to removal of weapons of war from our store shelves is tantamount to the revering of a commandment.

 

It may be true that the banning of assault weapons won’t end the slaughter, there will always be someone who chooses to kill, but the number of people killed by one person at a time can be altered dramatically.

 

In the name of all that is good and holy, we must act against this kind of menace.

 

 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Our New Reality

 There is a need to see the new reality in our nation and our world.  The reality is that we are  one world.  We have failed to see our planet as One World.  Only if we recognize it as a singular unit, interacting and interdependent, only in recognizing that, is there a possibility to avoid self-destructing.

 

This nation had 4 years of inciting division—and what it led to shocked all.   A brutal attack on our nation’s capital.  We never dreamed an insurrection was possible in this democratic nation.  The four prior years led up to it.  Our democracy works by cooperation between opposing ideas.  Four years of lies, insults, and fanning low burning rebellion ignited it.  It was a time of ‘Us’ vs ‘Them’—no cooperation, no seeking understanding, no empathy—just do whatever it takes to WIN.   The divisions allowed the insurrection to happen!

 

In the more distant past it was understandable why division was the norm.  There was no realization of one whole interacting interdependent world and a Universe beyond.  There was focus only on the ‘pieces’ (and the desire to make ‘my piece’ supreme).  There were excuses for past generations, they had never realized the planet as one whole…..but the 20th and 21st centuries had forced that awareness upon us—two wars that involved the world—that’s why they were called WWI and WWII.  Two world wars and later a trip to outer space to see the singularity of the planet . . . that new awareness requires our response; the need to see and act upon this new reality.

 

It’s so obvious we need to cooperate—yet so hard!  Within our nation and among nations there is so much disagreement.  There is a simple prayer that has appeared in all religions throughout time; the wording changes a bit but the essence is the same ‘Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you.’  The ‘others’ includes our near neighbors and our far off ones.

 

That is what is needed to get out of the world-threatening dangers we are in.  This is our WORLD, there’s no other planet to escape to.  We face a triple threat: 1) permanent division of humanity into the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’; 2) universal environmental collapse; and 3) extinction of humanity by a nuclear holocaust.  Any one of these three should compel us to cooperate.

The facts are: 1)  a report from World Economic Forum reported that ‘the 26 richest people on earth in 2018 had the same net worth as the poorest half of the world population’; 2) It is feared by many scientists that we have damaged our environment to the extent we can’t fully recoup.  (We have exploited the earth rather than husbanding it); 3) in 2016 there was a total of 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world’s  arsenal.

 

We must face the reality of our One World and work cooperatively to heal internal division and address what unites us as a world . . . both are essential.  We can still avert global disaster, but to do so it is imperative that we accept and act upon our new reality.

 

 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Disastrous Outcome

As I await the outcome of the second impeachment trial of former president, Donald Trump, I feel an intensity that is hard to describe.  I believe our world is at a crisis point.  The election of Trump has moved the dial more toward a disastrous outcome.  We are losing the ability to recognize evil.  He has been a champion of unfettered self-serving evil and retaliates against anyone who does not bow to his will.  His actions have spawned an insurrection.  If he is acquitted and suffers no consequences it will demonstrate that our legal system does not reside in justice and he will be free to continue to spread his brand of evil and our nation will be weakened in the eyes of the world.

 

This nation and the world have moved away from living by God’s laws and that spells disaster.   The words of God in the Bible are: ‘I lay before you, life and death—choose life’.  The way we choose life is to live by the universal prayer: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you ‘.  That assumes goodness, not evil.   Each time we step farther from the intent of that prayer we move closer to that negative side of the equation –we are choosing death.  No one event causes the outcome, but each victory of evil moves us closer to disaster. 

 



PS  2/3/21

Having heard the results, I believe the process of impeachment is a mockery and  makes our justice system the same

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Insurrection Consequences

 It is imperative that Donald Trump be impeached in order that it be so recorded in history books.  There are some people who seek it for vengeance or retribution; but that is not the central issue; It is a matter of consequences.

 

What we experienced was an insurrection—no greater crime can be committed against an established government.  This cannot be swept away or minimized, it is a sacrilege that puts a dark stamp on our history, and its author must suffer consequences.

 

Trump has lied relentlessly throughout his term of office.  He was fact-checked in the media and it made no difference to him and each time, the news went on to other things.  But his last ‘Big Lie’ of a rigged election that stole the votes from him—a lie he repeated over and over—incited an insurrection.  The Capital was stormed by a raging mob sweeping through it, hunting congressmen, destroying sacred property and inflicting destruction, pain and death.

 

Throughout his presidency Trump had played loose with laws and established order.  He has no respect for truth and made grandiose claims of his superior intellect, exhibited obsessive-compulsive behavior (endless tweets) and is paranoid, claiming that the press and all but his ‘base’ is prejudices against him.  Prejudice is defined as: ‘a perceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience’.  The strong anti-Trump opinions that came to light were not due to prejudice but to his exhibited attitudes and behaviors—that does not constitute prejudice.

 

In his earlier trial for unlawful acts and abuse of power, he was impeached by the House but exonerated by a Republican Senate more concerned with retaining power than doing what was right.

 

What happened January 6, 2021 is too consequential to treat it as ‘another one of Trump’s blunders’.  Our nation’s image was damaged as the whole world watched.  It would be unjust if the perpetrator of such a heinous crime suffered no consequences.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas story, The Gift

 

This is my favorite story of the short stories I have written.  For the past several Christmasses I have it posted here, I do so again as my 2020 Christmas offering.  
It was written as a ‘new myth’.  It had always bothered me that although there are shepherds, angels, and wise men at the stable, nowhere is there any help for Mary at the birth.  Surely Joseph prayed for help; in my story, his prayer was answered and Jesus’ first miracle was for one speaking ‘the Word’ for the first time.


The Gift

            In the time before the star shone over Bethlehem, there lived a shepherd and his wife who had six sons. The husband was very proud to have such a family of sons, but the wife longed for a daughter.   After the fourth boy, she had expressed that wish to her husband.  He scolded her, saying it was sons, not daughters that every good Hebrew should pray for.   Although she dearly loved and cared for each son, she never stopped yearning for a daughter.  After the birth of her sixth boy her heart became heavy, realizing she was passing out of her childbearing years and was not to realize her hope.  But to their surprise, she conceived again, and a year later, she gave birth to a girl!  She immediately declared the child to be God’s blessing, and requested of her husband that the baby be named Johanna, Hebrew for ‘gift of God’.  They so named her.
            The baby was very beautiful, strong and healthy—except for a twisted foot.  Faithfully during the child’s infancy, her mother massaged and molded the foot, which improved from the care, but it was never to be fully cured.  Throughout her life, Johanna was to walk with a limp.  
            The husband—being a good Jew—went frequently to the temple.  As his fellow worshipers became aware of the child’s deformity, some would shake their heads and say this was punishment for his sins.  When he repeated this to his wife—who usually made no retort to his chidings—she scolded him: “Do not question God!  His ways are not our ways . . . this child is a gift; God has plans for her.”  The husband just shook his head and walked away.
            Johanna had a loving nature and sweet disposition, but she did not speak.  At first they thought nothing of it—with six lively and boisterous brothers, there was always commotion to which she was alert, so they simply thought her quiet.  One day a physician said her tongue cleaved to her jaw and she would never speak.  
              “—A curse of God for sure!” said the people.
            As she grew, the girl learned household tasks as befits a Hebrew woman, but she also had a great love of the sheep of her father’s flock and took delight in shepherding them in nearby fields that were not hard to walk to.  Later, as she matured, Johanna took on the task of bedding them at night when they were stabled . . . and she gently soothed the delivering ewes at lambing time.  Several times she saved both ewe and lamb in a difficult labor.  Always she was kind and gentle.  The knowledge of her skill spread through the village and at lambing time all welcomed her.
            As the years went on, each of the brothers in turn took wives . . . but no marriage could be arranged for Johanna.  Only the mean or stupid would accept so flawed a woman for wife, and her parents would not agree to such a match. 
            As her parents grew old, the daughter cared first for her father, then later her mother thru their aged infirmities, always with kindness and a loving disposition.  Her mother never ceased saying Johanna was God’s gift and blessing.
            After the deaths of her parents, Johanna went to live with and assist the elderly devout long-widowed Anna of the tribe of Asher, who spent much time in the temple praying.  In addition to the duties of Anna’s house, Johanna continued to watch over the stables and tend the lambing of the village.
            One December evening, on her rounds of the stables, Johanna came upon a man sitting dejectedly with his head in his hands—at her approach the man leapt to his feet saying, “You are the answer to my prayers . . . Can you help me? I am Joseph; my wife Mary is about to give birth . . .” Johanna gave no response. “I am a carpenter and do not have knowledge of such things.  We came for the census.  I could find no lodgings or midwife for her, but we were given shelter in this stable . . . her time has come.  Now she is napping between her labor pains—and I feel so helpless.  I called upon the Lord God to send help . . . and here you are.  Will you help us?”
            Johanna nodded.  Joseph soon realized she could not speak, but he did not question God.  He thanked God for sending this kind young woman as he handed her the supplies they had carried with them for this need.  She moved with self-assurance and, though not a midwife, all the years of tending the ewes gave her the needed inner confidence.  Her kindness, warmth and gentleness soothed both the travelers.
            At the moment of birth, gently she received the newborn into her hands, cleared the mucus, patted his back to encourage his first breaths of air, wiped him with the linens, and tucked him into Mary’s arms.
            With gratefulness, Mary received the baby and said, “He is to be called, Jesus.”  At that moment the infant’s tiny fingers curled around Johanna’s index finger—she opened her lips and whispered “Welcome, Jesus” . . . 


                                                                      THE END

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Democracy Under Assault

I’m not an expert, just a citizen looking at the condition of America’s democracy.  Throughout my memory, America was looked up to and admired by most of the world . . . but I now see an unrecognizable America.  The man who has occupied the position of president for the past four years had sullied our image.  He entered the office ready to withdraw from world treaties, rescind environmental advances made by his predecessor and self-aggrandize at every opportunity.  He has fulfilled those objectives.  He befriended dictators and alienated allies and in so doing opened the eyes of citizens of other nations—America had lost its shine.  No longer a beacon to the world; it would be the laughing stock were it not so serious a calamity.

 

I ask, “Is there no way to stop the damage he revels in?”  There was an impeachment trial following his attempt to manipulate a newly-minted national leader to ‘dig up dirt’ on the man he thought was to be his opponent in the next election.  The evidence of malicious intent and abuse of power was overwhelming, but Republicans feared a loss of power.  They held the deciding vote—while admitting to impropriety—they insisted that the exact words used to describe his crimes did not match the constitutional words, and thus was he not found guilty.  That emboldened him to commit further egregious abuses.  He continued to fire qualified people in important positions to replace them with his unqualified financial supporters; make choices for the armed forces that were not supported by the military commanders; continually shout that the honest reporting of our free press was manufacturing ‘fake news’ while he himself was doing just that.  For months prior to the 2020 election he repeatedly denigrated our voting system saying it was ‘rigged’, that mail-in ballots were not legal—preparing for himself the means to question the results should he lose.

 

When he lost the election, he refused to acknowledge that Biden won.  Throughout history, even during contentious campaigns and during the worst of times, there has always been a cooperative transfer of power—it is the ‘shining star’ of the democratic process.  Only Trump has refused to accept defeat and will not engage in the required transfer process that includes allowing the president-elect into security briefings and access to the financial funding for future planning.  He thereby handicaps Biden’s ability to prepare to take the reins of office and this endangers our democracy.

 

His most shocking offence was to ignore the life-threatening pandemic.  He refused to listen to scientific evidence, gave no direction and support for combative measures, and in the weeks before the election he went on a blitz of rallies before huge unmasked crowds providing the opportunity for massive hot-spots of infection.  The virus spread explosively. He is indirectly responsible for thousands of Covid deaths.

 

He has blatantly used executive power to try to nullify the election.  He is a megalomaniac, obsessed with his delusion of superiority.  He denies reality, holds the paranoid belief that everyone is prejudice and plotting against him—he can’t recognize that it’s not prejudices, but an awareness that he is unfit for the job.

 

The Founding Fathers could never have imagined a crazy man would one day hold the office of president.  Constitutional scholars should begin exploring ways to withdraw decision-making powers from one who has lost touch with reality to prevent such things ever happening again.  Our precious democracy has been under assault for four years; may such never occur again.