Thursday, August 30, 2007
Tiny Tim Had it Right
There is an email that is being forwarded all over that tells us we SHOULD all fly our American flags on 9-11-07. The body of it reads like this:
On Tuesday, September 11th, 2007, an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States. Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this fifth anniversary of our country's worst tragedy. We do this in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.
In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.
The email goes on to tell us to spread the word and also display our flag on the 11th. It ends with:
Thank you for your participation. God Bless You and God Bless America
I think that it is really important to think about what we do and what our motivations are instead of just emotionally fulfilling an action because someone says we "should". Who is that "someone", anyway? And why are they telling me what I "should" do? (Maybe that someone is a flag manufacturer. cha-ching!) Will flying my flag really help us prevail over terrorism?
I am sure that the person who originated this had good intentions. It is very kind of them to want us to remember that scary day and to acknowledge those who have died because of it. But let's also, while we're at it, not forget the other 148,000 people who died that day (151,338 people in our world die each day) and every day. Some of those other 148,000 who died on that day also departed in horrible circumstances, and all who died left grieving friends and relatives behind. Families and friends of those other 148,000 will commemorate their loved ones' deaths with no national fanfare, even though their loss was just as important to them.
I'm not even going to go there with "our cherished freedoms" that our soldiers are fighting for and our government is taking away...
Then there's the "God Bless America" bumper-sticker quote. We really do need God - or someone - to bless us. We have lost our way. Our national debt, the decimation of our constitution, our occupation of a country, and all the deaths in our name, etc., etc. We're walking into deep doodoo and need all of the blessing we can get.
Or maybe we just need the American people to wake up and right our ship.
"Jesus loves the little children, ALL the children of the world. Red or yellow, black or white; they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."
(Song I was taught as a child. I still believe it today.)
"The only real, dignified, human doctrine is the greatest good of all." - Mahatma Gandhi
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
But His Voice Can Still Be Heard
This documentary is worth watching. Of course there are critics, but as Robert W. Butler in his review at The Kansas City Star says, "If America: From Freedom to Fascism is right only 10 percent of the time, we're in big trouble."
Monday, August 27, 2007
Breaking the Recommended Read Rules
So, I have categories (and if you think that I have to follow the rules just because someone says so, you're on the wrong blog!). Okay. Okay. I'll keep it to two categories. And the only way that the recipients will find out they won is if they read about it here (which won't happen) or you tell them. I am just handing out these awards so that YOU will check out their worthy sites.
In a solemn mood of decorum and honor, I pass the coveted Recommended Read award that was bestowed upon me by Robert of Left of Centrist to:
In the category of Peace Awards -
And in the category of Inspiration and fun -
With wit, wisdom, and courage, she shares her healing journey. And she may be the most exotic decorator I have never met.
Brainhell of, well, Brainhell
A man with ALS who shares his frustrations, sometimes painful experiences, touching notes to his kids, and his weird dreams.
Labels: Recommended Read Award
Sunday, August 26, 2007
As a recipient, I am to pass this award on to two others. If you knew about my eclectic blog reading list (kinda like W's eclectic reading list, only the authors of my lists are known to use three syllables or more), you would know why the task of choosing two blogs to pass this on to is so hard.
And if I could pass it right back, Left of Centrist would be one of my awardees (is that a word???).
So, since Mondays are my busiest days and I am running late as I write this, the award ceremony for the next two honored recipients will be held this evening.
The Beatles at Red Rocks
The four lads of this Beatles take-off band have perfected the mannerisms of J,P,G & R down to John's gum-chewing and Paul's left-handed bass playing (even though Gary Grimes who plays Paul's part is really right-handed). These guys are really good! And fun!
The audience consisted of people from 2 years old to 72 (or older). What an impact the Beatles had on many generations! Last night their music brought together people of all types, and we danced, sang and had a great time together. Neither politics, religion, age, nor race mattered.
Now that's what I call some peace-making!
(Big bummer. I was scheduled to work the concession stand for The Cure's show and I just read that it was canceled. Guess I'll just have to post a YouTube video to console myself.)
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Photographs and Memories
I've been going through BOXES of photographs. I'm not just looking at them, I'm lightening my load. Reducing my baggage to a minimum.
I'm finding many unlabeled photos of people I barely remember, places I can't recognize, or blurs that I kept for some unknown reason. I have now seen my whole life flash before my eyes - me as a baby, a toddler, a gawky adolescent, a young mother, and more recently, a middle-aged woman. In only a few hours, I've watched my kids grow from beautiful, sweet, innocent, soft babies and toddlers that I never want to stop kissing to the wonderful young adults that they are now (that I never want to stop kissing, but have to in order to preserve their sanity and dignity).
As I throw away photos of boyfriends from years past - love that came and went - does it mean that those times never happened, since I will no longer have anything to prove it?
Through all of this, I see just how temporary we are. There will be a time when no one on this earth will know that I - or my photos - ever existed.
If you could choose only one photo of yourself to preserve so that others could see it 100 years from now, what would it look like? What would it say about you and your life?
Labels: The past
Friday, August 24, 2007
All We Are Saying
Hint: It's about 30 seconds into the video and don't blink or you'll miss it.
Nice question at the end:
Our Women in Black vigil has held a space for peace for two years. And the wars still rage in Iraq and Afghanistan, Palestinians are kept in poverty behind walls, we're looking at bombing Iran, and we have much violence in our own streets.
Still, I know that I have found more peace within myself through standing in silence. And I know that people passing by have had to be reminded of something when they see us - whether it is the war in Iraq, their own patriotism, or domestic violence. For one moment, at least, they are shaken out of their day to day thoughts as they drive to the mall, cellphone to their ear. I watch as passengers point and start a conversation with their driver. That is good.
Who knows how the story ends???
Labels: Women in Black
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Rocking to Aid Our Sisters
A piece of inane trivia: Speaking of Red Rocks Amphitheater, I was there at the Jethro Tull concert in 1971 when everyone in the amphitheater got tear-gassed.
DENVER - Ian Anderson wandered on stage at the outset of the June 10th school's-out Jethro Tull concert here at Red Rocks Amphitheater with tears in his eyes. The other members of Tull were also weeping, not to mention gasping for breath, as was most of the 10,000-strong audience. Swaying, fingering an acoustic guitar, Anderson surveyed the crowd and the Denver police chopper hovering in the distance dispensing periodic charges of tear gas at the rear of the assembly.
Welcome to World War III,
he croaked, and the music began.
The music, much of it from Tull's new "spiritual" LP Aqualung, went on for the next hour and 20 minutes, and so did the tear-gas dispensing. In the wake of the concert, 28 persons, including four Denver policemen and three infants, were treated at area hospitals for injuries received in the disturbances. Dozens more - policemen, concert-goers, and would-be gate-crashers - were treated at the scene by a volunteer medical team. On charges ranging from drunkenness, weapons violations, and possession of narcotics, 20 persons, including three juveniles, were arrested. One car was destroyed by fire, and several other vehicles were reported damaged.
And that was the end of Rock and Roll at Red Rocks for quite some time...
*Friendship Bridge provides microcredit loans and education to women and their families living in poverty. I am a part of a local circle dedicated to raising funds to sponsor a trust bank in Guatemala.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I admit that what is going on in our world is WAY bigger than a mild case of acne, but still, the rest of the face - the healing and kindness - also exists and should not be overlooked.
This is a photo of Jes Ward speaking at the AFSC celebration a couple of weeks ago. She works with Peace Jam whose central offices are in Arvada, Colorado. Peace Jam was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
From the press release announcing their nomination:
The PeaceJam Foundation is an 11 year old non-profit organization that works with Nobel Peace Prize winners and the youth of the world. "They have convened over 150 Youth Peace Congresses involving more than 500,000 young people across the USA and in South Africa, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Mexico, United Kingdom, Argentina, Costa Rica, and soon East Timor," said Corrigan Maguire [Nobel Peace Prize winner who nominated Peace Jam]. "The conferences bring a Nobel Peace Laureate to work side-by-side with young people for several days, teaching them how to tackle community problems, and training them in specific methodologies designed to allow them to successfully implement their specific community projects."
"Ten years ago, I joined with many others in bringing before the United Nations a resolution proclaiming the period of 2001 to 2010 as the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World." said Corrigan Maguire. "I have watched with growing interest as the PeaceJam Foundation...has worked with tremendous passion and outstanding dedication toward achieving the lofty goals of this United Nations resolution."
Over 310,000 projects have been completed by PeaceJam youth to date. PeaceJam also runs a year long peace education program that covers kindergarten through college youth, and which is now being introduced within the juvenile justice system.
You can get youth in your community hooked up with Peace Jam by visiting: http://www.peacejam.org/getinvolved.htm
"God will surf with the devil if the waves are good," he [Paskowitz] said. "When a surfer sees another surfer with a board, he can't help but say something that brings them together."
He said he was inspired after reading a story about two Gaza surfers who could not enjoy the wild waves off the coastal strip because they had only one board to share between them.
"So I said to my son, 'Come, we'll go to Israel and get them some boards,"' Paskowitz told AP Television News. He described his mission as a "mitzvah," Hebrew for a "good deed."
Arthur Rashkovan, a 28-year-old surfer from Tel Aviv, said Paskowitz's project was part of a larger effort called "Surfing for Peace," aimed at bringing Middle Eastern surfers closer together.
Maybe even here and now.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
At the Fort Logan burial of a homeless veteran Monday, government and mortuary officials did their best to give the late Charles W. Bean the semblance of normalcy in death that he couldn't find in life.
But even at this sublimely beautiful lakeside chapel on a hilltop at impeccable Fort Logan National Cemetery, the disarray that must have defined Charles Bean's life was represented by a vacuum.
There were only six chairs in one row before Bean's copper-colored casket, and only two of those filled by people who knew his name. There were no family members that anyone could find. No photograph of the deceased on the program or propped atop the casket.
No words spoken aloud from anyone who knew anything about Bean, who died Aug. 8, a day after his 58th birthday.
There were taps, a friendly chaplain struggling to help his small audience make a connection, and a lingering sadness that a fresh breeze can't blow away.
A Colorado census last year estimated more than 16,000 people are living homeless. Some surveys put the percentage of the homeless who are veterans as high as 23 percent.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
A friend wrote and said that he hoped I wasn't always as depressed as my last poem suggests. He thought that I might want to write a poem about these three sweet deer, because they are too cute to write sad things about.
As to whether or not I am as depressed as one might think, I say,
So, the other night, when it felt like hell fell upon me, that was quite hard and I don't really know where it came from, but after feeling like I needed to crawl out of my skin for a few minutes, I just asked myself what the danger was in that moment, and I knew that everything was fine then and there. So I soon relaxed back into sleep.
I think that it is important to be able to contain ALL OF IT, since this world certainly seems to hold it all. I cannot afford to turn my eyes away from the suffering that is going on and only allow the comfortable to hang around me.
Aren't we all the laughter and celebration AND the pain and starvation??? Where do you end and the Iraqi mother holding her injured child begin? And likewise, we all know the serenity of the moment that holds these fawns beside their mom.
"...when we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient beings are dying with us, we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being, and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings." - Sogyal Rinpoche
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Yesterday I fasted
because a storm
a terrible storm
a widow-maker storm
an orphan-maker storm
an earth-poisoning storm
is taking place in Iraq
and I can hardly sit here
But I can't stop it either
and it's hard to live and move
as if everything is okay
when it's not for so many
who happen to be born
in the wrong place
so for just one moment
I didn't want to grab
anything nearby that would
numb the pain
I went to sleep hungry
like so many children do
awoke to a feeling
of utter panic and despair
lying in my bed
safe within the walls
that we have built
to keep strangers out
along with the moon and stars
I was safe but felt as if
everything I had ever known
was in the process of
and I could hardly breathe
I don't know if that was
a sense of things to come
or a connection to the
sensation of all who have
been hit by war and drought
or was it the lack of
vitamins feeding my mind
or the absence of the sugar
that gives a sense of well-being
But I know that if you think
that being an American
makes you exempt from
a terrible storm
you might want to eliminate
all those fast-food carbs
and television fats that you've
been using to numb yourself
so you can clear your head
Photo of the Wicked Creek fire in the Absaroka Mountains south of Livingston, MT taken by my cousin, the famous Larry Blackwood of Hawkline Photography
Chris Jordan Shows the Numbers
See what 9 million wooden blocks (representing the number of U.S. children without heath-care in 2007) looks like.
Check out 2 million plastic beverage bottles - the number of plastic beverage bottles the U.S. uses in FIVE MINUTES.
It's amazing how many paper bags we use in ONE HOUR: 1.14 MILLION!
2.3 MILLION people were imprisoned in the U.S. in 2005 and Jordan shows us what that's like in his artwork depicting that many folded prison uniforms.
Check him out. Chris Jordan.com. And think about the American way of life.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
So tonight I'll probably dream about tomatoes coming after me.
Recently, a friend of mine went on a trip to Guatemala. She, along with some of the other women who traveled there, came back with a strong need to do something to help the Guatemalan women that they met. As a result, they hooked up with Friendship Bridge, and a bunch of us women have now formed a local circle. We will do fund-raisers to earn money that will be used for microcredit for women in Guatemala.
One of our fund-raisers entails working at a concession stand for concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheater (which is just too beautiful of a place). The good news: we'll get to listen to the concert for free. The bad news: Being the old woman I am, I've never heard of the groups that we will be hearing. AND we'll be selling hot dogs and beer - two items that can incite a riot of gag reflex in my gut. But you know what??? I won't be shoveling rocks in Guatemala.
At our monthly meeting last night, we watched a short film from Guatemala. It showed the life of a 15 year old girl whose mom is disabled and whose father has died. This young woman has shoveled rocks every day since she was 5 in order to earn money for the family. She has never gone to school.
Serving up some beer and dogs sounds pretty good all of a sudden.
But the thought of them doesn't EVEN make me hungry.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
And who even knows how many more Iraqis will be dead by then? The American people are never told.
Last year, I would fast for 36 hours every time the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq reached another 100 point. I haven't done that this year, because of health issues, but I am ready to start again tomorrow.
I am not willing to go to Iraq and kill. That would be against everything that I believe. But I am willing to feel uncomfortable while my brothers and sisters who live in every corner of our world suffer.
There's that great story of the mother bringing her kid to Gandhi and saying, "Please tell my son to give up sugar." Gandhi said, "Come back in a week." The mother left perplexed. A week later, she came back and Gandhi said to the kid, "Give up sugar." The mother said to Gandhi, "Couldn't you have told him that last week?" Gandhi replied, "No, because I hadn't given up sugar last week."
Monday, August 13, 2007
Happy 90th Birthday!
This year's Jack Gore Award Recipients:
The AFSC Annual Public Gathering took place at the Mercury Cafe. The Merc is a happenin' place for many events, gatherings, dance classes, activist meetings, plays, and open mic poetry nights. And Marilyn Megenity (shown above) is the owner, manager, and program director of this wonderful place. I have to quote from the program to give you a flavor of Marilyn's gift: "She opened her first cafe in 1975. She soon realized that her life's work would be to create community in the alienated urban environment and that nurturing in the cafe was the perfect setting. People enter; they eat wholesome food [locally grown organic]; they talk; they plan; they raise funds for causes." It would take a whole paragraph to list the causes that have been helped through people working together at the Merc.
Joanne Cowan actually traveled to Camp Casey in the same caravan that I was with in August of 2005, but unfortunately, due to many circumstances, I didn't get to know her well during that trip. My loss. If you drive past Joanne's house, you will see that her garage door is covered with tally marks for the U.S. soldiers and Iraqis who have been killed in this war. Joanne is a tireless volunteer in the Boulder community, and she is a fellow Women in Black vigiler. In 2005, she was arrested for crawling under the fence to enter the School of Americas (aka School of Assassins) as a protest of the work that they do. She served 60 days in prison for that. After her release from prison, she advocated for a fellow prisoner who had stage 3 cancer, leading to a compassionate release for that prisoner. Joanne is an active member of the Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center and she remains engaged with the SOA Watch.
There is much to write about the work of Joanne and Marilyn. But instead, tonight I will end by writing about toilets.
I love the toilets at the Mercury. The whole Mercury experience is notable, but the toilets are, in my mind, the most fun thing there. Here is a picture of one (Unlike the two photos above, I did not take this one, but stole it off of the 'net):
"With each flush of your commode, clean water that would otherwise go straight down the toilet is first routed up through a chrome gooseneck spigot to dispense pure water for hand washing."
Is that not the coolest thing? And it's only $89! I can't figure out why every toilet in the U.S. isn't equipped with a toilet lid sink. Why do we waste clean water by using it to fill our toilets? I'm going to get one of these!
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Birds love to visit our sunflowers in the front yard. This is only a tiny area around our mailbox, but it is full of life. Six square feet of earth have given me hours of viewing pleasure. Hmmmm... I just might have to expand the size next year.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
What's Goin' On?
This is Carol reporting alive from Lakewood, Colorado. I just left the scene of the weekly Women in Black Vigil which was held here today, as it is every Saturday, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
The hour started out with a large woman in a car passing by with a "thumbs down" gesture. I interviewed a member of the Women in Black group, whose name also happens to be Carol, to find out her reaction.
"I try to understand how anyone, but especially how a woman - who may have given birth to beautiful children; who may be married to a man she loves - can have a negative response to the word 'Peace'. Women are the bearers of life, and to want to put their flesh and blood in harm's way; to allow her offspring or husband to kill another woman's offspring... I do really try to understand this way of thinking...", she explained.
As the hour progressed, a middle-aged woman made her way to the vigil bearing ice cold drinks for the vigilers. These were not the usual bottles of water. These drinks came in many flavors. As she dropped off the bag of bottles, the woman told the vigilers, "God bless you."
Standing in the hot sun, I witnessed many waves, thumbs up, peace signs, and honks of appreciation. Twice, young men shouted their disapproval of a man named Bush - one of them wanted him out of office. The other was not so nice.
Shortly before the end of the vigil, a truck stopped at the stoplight in front of us. On the side of the vehicle were the words, "When Trucking Stops, America Stops", and the sign on the back revealed an American flag surrounded with "There's Only One". A voice from inside yelled angrily, "My daughter is over there fighting so that those pieces of sh** can stand there!"
I asked Carol if she had any last words for me.
"War is not the answer. Only love can conquer hate. You know we've got to find a way to bring some lovin' here today. What's goin' on?", she replied.
Friday, August 10, 2007
I Admire Daniel Ellsberg
by Daniel Ellsberg
Remarks of Daniel Ellsberg at a press conference August 9, 2007 at which Cindy Sheehan announced her independent candidacy for the 8th Congressional District of California, an office now held by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House.
I don't speak for Cindy Sheehan-whom I admire unreservedly- or for her campaign. When I say "we" in what follows, I'm really just giving my own perspective on this campaign, as one of her supporters.
I see this campaign as aiming much higher than putting Cindy Sheehan in Congress in 2009. Well before that time, we aim to help restore our Constitution, to end a war and avert starting a new one, and to remove from power two officials - George W. Bush and Richard Cheney - who block those objectives before they can do more harm in their remaining months in office.
That's an ambitious project; but there's a clear path to achieving it. We will work to change public awareness and, as a result, Nancy Pelosi's policies as Speaker of the House well before the election, by revealing to the public real alternatives to the courses she and the Democrats have followed so far, and demonstrating the breadth and strength of public support for those alternatives.
The truth is that Democrats, and even Republicans, can do much better than they have been doing, under Pelosi's leadership in the House, to protect our freedoms and our security. In this campaign we will publicize specifics of what can and should be done, and let the public tell the politicians which approach they want.
One essential demand is for Pelosi to encourage, rather than to block, Congressional investigations of past and ongoing administration deception, unwisdom, illegality and unconstitutionality in pursuing an aggressive war and in curtailing our rights. Such investigations, calling forth testimony under oath of current and former officials many of whom are eager to tell the truth at last, as well as demonstrating continued administration stonewalling, will almost surely lead to what does not yet exist: irresistible pressure from a belatedly-informed public for the impeachment and removal of Bush and Cheney.
Further, we need Pelosi's leadership in rescinding the unconstitutional parts-which will not leave much-of the Patriot Acts, the Military Commisions Act and the recent, outrageous legislation purporting to legalize warrantless wiretaps and data mining. And-absolutely essential to ending our war in Iraq, ever-public pressure is needed to demand that Congress defund our indefinite occupation, providing funds only for the orderly, safe withdrawal of all our troops, contractors and bases on an announced time-table.
If this campaign can help bring about even the first of these, it will also, almost incidentally, put Cindy Sheehan within reach of success in the election. This is, in fact, a historic campaign opportunity, exploiting an opening unique in American politics. At this moment, Cindy appears to face insuperable odds, opposing without party support a powerful, heavily-funded incumbent. But we aim to change that. All we are asking is for Nancy Pelosi to do what she should: to uphold her oath of office, which is not to obey a Commander-in-Chief or to enlarge a Democratic majority but to uphold and defend the Constitution.
If we can induce her to do that, then a year from now Cindy Sheehan should be running for an open seat, or against a brand-new incumbent appointed by our Republican governor. Nancy Pelosi, third in line for succession when Bush and Cheney are impeached and removed, will be in the White House. That will, as it happens, leave an open field for Cindy.
So you see, it's nothing personal for us. After all, as representatives of big business go, Nancy Pelosi is better than most. We don't aim to kick her out of politics, we aim to kick her upstairs. And there's a bonus: President Pelosi as a write-in candidate in November. She's far from ideal, from the point of view of members of this campaign, but for a Democrats we could do a lot worse. Off the record, some of us see this as the best strategy for keeping Hillary out of the White House without letting a Republican in.
So there it is: a vision for 2009 that can evoke some real enthusiasm: Cindy in the House, Pelosi in the White House, the US out of Iraq. Our Constitution back, and Bush and Cheney under criminal indictment.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Q: How can I best bring about peace in the world?
A: So, you're looking for peace? You'd like to see your surroundings in peace? Are you in peace? Because, before giving peace to your surroundings, you must be in peace yourself. First, face your lack of peace. See that you are constantly at war with yourself, you are violent and aggressive with yourself. As long as you think you're an independent entity, there's war, and it's useless to try to end conflict on a social level. If you are not in harmony with yourself, you remain an accomplice to society.
This question of war and peace is very important. When you come to the life experience of global being, there is real freedom and absolute security. As long as you have not integrated this freedom you cannot help bring social or political freedom. Freedom can never come through a system.
- Jean Klein, Who Am I?
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Just When We Thought We Were Winning the War on Terror...
Some say that these weapons are now being used against U.S. soldiers.
And our tax money paid for this.
Between our new and improved spying laws and our bungling of this occupation, among other things, it only gets worse, doesn't it?
Two Years Ago
When Cindy asked me if I wanted to go to Texas, I had to refuse, because I was already getting ready to leave for MA for my husband's family reunion. I remember that, while I was there, I kept up on Cindy via the news on the internet. She quickly went from an unknown grieving mother to a national figure.
And W never took even a few minutes to talk with her. I think that it would've done him some good - both as a human and as a prez who needs all the positive ratings he can get - to have met with Cindy and listened to her pain.
By the time I got to Crawford on August 21st, Cindy was gone to be with her mother who had had a stroke. I didn't get to meet Cindy during that trip. But I did meet her the following Easter. (If you have nothing better to do, you can read about my Crawford trips in my August, 2005 and April, 2006 archives.)
Cindy and I are no longer in contact. I stay up-to-date on what she's up to and I admire her energy and focus. I hope that she wins her run for Congress.
Two years ago, when Cindy went to Crawford, 64 per cent of Americans did not believe the war was making us safer and 61 per cent did not approve of the prez's handling of the war.
Today, W has a 29 per cent approval rating and more than 7 in 10 people polled think that we should bring the troops home by April.
He STILL has not met with Cindy and he continues to ignore the people of this country.
A week and a half ago at Carolyn's trial, a potential juror said that if we don't like the prez or the war, we change things in 2008 by voting in that election. By following that logic, do we keep our child in a classroom with an abusive teacher until the next grade? Do we allow our kids to watch a sick and violent television show until the next season when we know the television schedule will change? When someone is destroying things, we stop them!
It's been two years since Cindy sat in that hot Texas ditch. When she settled into her spot by the road, almost 2 1/2 years into the war, 1770 U.S. soldiers had died. Now, two years later, 1900 more have given their lives, along with hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis. (Then there's the damage to the Iraqi infrastructure, the exodus of refugees, the injured Iraqis and Americans, the loss of respect for our nation in the world... and on and on...)
W won't answer. Only history will show for what noble cause these lives were taken.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Twenty-first Century Scavenger Hunt
We Have Lost Our Soul
All twelve potential jurors raised their hands.
Mr. C. A. then added, "What if the circumstances are the same, but you found out that the man is a father and his kids have no food, so he is stealing in order to feed them? Who would still say that he is guilty?
All twelve potential jurors raised their hands.
Mr. C. A. obviously wanted the jurors to admit that a crime is a crime no matter the circumstances behind it. Heartstrings don't count when your dealing with the law.
That is just fine and dandy, but you know what? I think that a society is very sick if we just make things black and white. If we would put that man in jail, then his kids would be in even worse condition. Why do we have to look at people as parts instead of a whole? It seems to me that a more human way of responding would be to say that yes, it is wrong to steal, but it is also wrong to have a culture where someone has to steal in order to feed their family. We could help the family get their needs met and MAYBE the man won't have to steal. If he still finds himself helping himself to the property of others, that is a different problem.
Don't tell me that you wouldn't steal food to feed your family if it came down to that.
In the book, Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson (Central Asian Institute), an incredible man who, I think, qualifies as a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work in building schools in the back countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan says, " I've learned that terror doesn't happen because some group of people somewhere like Pakistan or Afghanistan simply decide to hate us. It happens because children aren't being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death.
"... He spoke about Pakistan's impoverished public schools. He spoke about the Wahhabi madrassas sprouting like cancerous cells and billions of dollars Saudi sheikhs [You know, people from the country that we are supplying weapons] carried into the region in suitcases to fuel the factories of Jihad.
"Then Mortenson talked of the tribal traditions that attended conflict in the region - the way warring parties held a jirga [meeting] before doing battle, to discuss how many losses they were willing to accept, since victors were expected to care for the widows and orphans of the rivals they have vanquished.
"'People in that part of the world are used to death and violence,' Mortenson said. 'And if you tell them, 'We're sorry your father died, but he died a martyr so Afghanistan could be free,' and if you offer them compensation and honor their sacrifice, I think people will support us, even now. But the worst thing that you can do is what we're doing - ignoring the victims. To call them 'collateral damage' and not even try to count the numbers of the dead. Because to ignore them is to deny they ever existed, and there is no greater insult in the Islamic world. For that, we will never be forgiven.'"
This was spoken by a man who has spent years in Pakistan and Afghanistan, endearing himself to almost everyone he met there because he listened and cared. Those who are perpetrating this war have no relationship with the people of the area. They've never sat and had tea with a man and his family and learned about their village.
Where is our soul when we can allow people in our own country to go hungry and homeless? Where is our soul when we are not willing to learn about the people in the countries that we bomb, not caring for the innocent civilians that we kill or leave orphaned? Why are we not wise enough to at least first TRY to take care of our problems by going for the root cause instead of just imprisoning them or bombing them away?
From reading this book, I actually believe that it would be cheaper to help create a means of education and support for people so that they don't need to kill or steal for their needs than it is for us to pay for this trillion-dollar war. Definitely cheaper in the cost of goodwill, our safety here, and the price of combined lives and devastation.
Oh yeah, if we took that route, certain friends of people in high places would not have the wealth that they have now...