Saturday, October 18, 2008


What does it mean to be a Christian in an environment that emphasizes crisis over content? We have an economic crisis that threatens millions of people, not just Americans, who are at risk of becoming working class instead of middle class. Meanwhile, millions more are at risk of starving because the food, the basic staples of life, have become too expensive for them to buy. These people, no less valuable than the millions of those suddenly put at risk of downsizing from luxuries to necessities, are not rising up. They are not suddenly seeing their electronics being taken away from them. They are not seeing one less night of eating out. They are not seeing discomfort being counted as a loss of a basic human right. These people, these people who never have known anything better, aren't strong enough to rise up. The ones who are strong enough to rise up are those who have been trained to believe that the comforts that come from a system that says that they deserve it more than any other, must contend at best, and battle to the death if need be, those who are their competitors. Thus, the poorest of the poor must be demonized and dehumanized in order to allow their becoming "collateral damage" without an overwhelming sense of guilt. Most revolutions have been waged by those who have manipulated those who already had, so that they thought some other group was angling to get "their' goods. Divide and conquer is a tried and true technique from time immemorial.

Case in point: It's those Romans subjugating our homeland! It's those Jews threatening our empire's peace. It's those 'dirty' Italians (make sure to to emphasize the "eye" in 'I'talian) listening to their marching orders from the Vatican. And remember, the Irish were subhuman in English eyes until they came to America and got to be "white" for the first time in competition with blacks. Nowadays, it's Arabs (please make sure to pronounce the "A" in Arab!) as the convenient scapegoat. As long as we have someone, anyone, to see as the "other" we can avoid looking too closely at ourselves and what we've done or not done.

Whatever you do, pay no attention to that person dying on your doorstep. And if you can, please ignore that person, that man, that woman and that child, who is in the gunsights of missiles guided perfectly in their direction. Their life doesn't matter. They're the enemy. All of these wars are being fought for you.

What are you (am I) going to do?

Chris Buckley

I feel sorry (but only in one way) for Chris Buckley. He tried thinking as an independent. He may be wrong. He may be right. Apparently, he may not think or dare express his thoughts outwardly. I grew up learning from his father and his urbane and insightful temperament. Chris, while quite obviously different from his father, nonetheless has inherited his father's penchant for independent thinking. Kudos to him! I respect that Chris Buckley has decided that thinking through the issues is more important than going along with the party line. As an heretical democrat and republican, I say, welcome to the ship of the politically damned. In the long haul, it's a good place to be.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Welcome to the new capitalism

Our government is considering the possibility of partially nationalizing our banking industry. Those on the far right would say this is because of the governmental impulses of those who would say that only our elected officials, those in government, can get the job done and save us, are actually totalitarian socialists who have, all these many years, awaited this moment in order to sway us towards their dark, nefarious ways. They would argue that these "forces" are working to keep god out of our schools, government, and whatever other public institution we seem to think belong by rights to us.
If Billo, Rush, Sean, or any of the other talking point right tell us these essentials to all that is right and good and true, then I can rest assured, and need not think beyond their pronouncements. If I dare come to a contradictory conclusion, then I risk being seen, and of course declared, an enemy of the people.
Nonetheless, as a Christian, I look at what is happening, and cannot help but wonder at whether we are seeing the dawn of a new darkness, a period of coercion and moral cowardice that generations forward will look at in disgust and derision.
Last night, we read a passage from Kings that described what Elijah went through when the vast majority of Israel was apostate and he felt completely alone. God assured him that there were others who had not bowed the knee to baal. There were literally thousands of others who, even though not seen, were faithful to the one true God and what he had declared. It was true then. It is true now.
The reality is, our government is fundamentally in bed with the corporate interests that have so spectacularly failed in recent days. This isn't socialism. This isn't even unfettered capitalism. It's the economic prostitution ring of government serving the interests of the corporate Johns that have paid their whores for their services.
Now we see these distraught "customers" stepping away from the one who has "serviced" their needs for so long.
Let the recriminations begin. They are well deserved.