Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Glenn Beck Gets Owned

"Honestly Glenn, I can think of plenty of things to fill the void of hate and fear left by religion in this country."

By the way, have a fantastic International Blasphemy Day! This entry is dedicated to all those who strive to ensure and protect free speech and free criticism of ideas everywhere.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two Brand New Poems

I have composed two poems in the past week which I believe some of my readers may enjoy.


the expression in your face

innumerable complexities comply

in the inherent order of systems

unknown to unsophisticated observers

reflecting upon the impossible

probabilities begin to resolve

understandings between us deflected

beyond the level of first impressions

dictate confusion and deception of appearances

consist of mere summations

present that which cannot be reconciled

acknowledged unrevealed depth

lurking near every thing formed

in ignorance which cannot contemplate

the feelings residing there


what frame can possibly support

the structure of narratives

society envisioned

individual interactions

never cease mingling

I may never stand out

of the way of contemplation

let alone

by my own perspectives

hesitate to be assimilated

by the viewpoints created

through our collective minds

enslaved to a reality

brought forth under subversive thoughts

propose demolitions of all windows

smashed and broken misconceptions

replaced the caresses

falling toward those who are willing

to follow the leap of imagination

bursting through the only obstacle

remaining is not breaking free

I'd really appreciate any constructive feedback you may have. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lyrical Life: Dialogue

I'd like to share with you the lyrics from Part I of the song Dialogue by the band Chicago. This song was originally written in 1972, but the lyrics are still as fresh and relevant as ever:

"Are you optimistic, about the way that things are goin'?"

"No, I never, ever think of it at all."

"Don't you ever worry when you see what's goin' down?"

"Well, I'm tryin' to mind my business; that is no business at all."

"When it's time to function, as a feelin' human being, will your Bachelor of Arts help you get by?"

"I hope to study further, a few more years or so; I also hope to keep a steady high - woo, yeah, yeah."

"Will you try to change things - use the power that you have? The power of a million new ideas?"

"What is this power you speak of, and the need for things to change? I always thought that everything was fine - everything is fine."

"Don't you feel repression, just closing in around?"

"No, the campus here is very, very free."

"Don't it make you angry where war is draggin' on?"

"Well, I hope the President knows what he's into - I don't know. Whoo, I just don't know."

"Don't you see starvation, in the city where you live? All the needless hunger, all the needless pain?"

"I haven't been there lately - the country is so fine. My neighbors don't seem hungry 'cause they haven't got the time - haven't got the time."

"Thank you for your talk - you know, you really eased my mind. I was troubled by the shapes of things to come."

"Well, if you had my outlook, your feelings would be numb. You'd always think that everything was fine - everything was fine."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Politics of Fear and Ignorance: Legacy of George W. Bush

I remember for the last eight years, I always questioned everything that President Bush did. Now I begin to notice how President Obama is also being questioned...however, maybe I am misguided here, but it seems that a lot of things that Bush was criticized for...I don't know...actually happened?

So healthcare is a secret plan to take away our guns? Of course, I remember those who suggested that Iraq was a secret plan to take away their oil, so I am not blind to the crazy partisan rhetoric on the left. Of course, I'm still not sure why we went into Iraq...

It seems plausible to me to say that Obama's plan is inefficient, to say that it's expensive, to say that it's wasteful, to say that it favors corporations over the rest of the country...I may not agree with those points, but those are constructive criticisms. To say that, however, Obama has ulterior motives that he is hiding, is a bit paranoid, I think. Further, where is the evidence? When has Obama said that he has a revulsion for guns? Has he done anything yet in his administration against firearms? What is the reasoning behind these fears?

People believe all kinds of crazy things, so I am not that surprised. We've got people who believe the U.S. government directly caused 9/11, people who believe that Obama was born in Kenya, people who think the moon landings were a fake, people who think the biological diversity of our planet can be crammed into the last few thousand years, people who think Obama is indoctrinating children with the same kind of speech that Bush 41 and Reagan made, and many other strange and unusual things.

America is a funny country. If you beat prisoners, you get off scot-free (see Abu Ghraib). But if you beat dogs, you get to go to prison (see Michael Vick). Do we really believe that dogs are more important than people who live in other countries?

And do you remember the gospel story where the Samaritan women asks Jesus to help her, and he says that he is only there for the chosen, and then the foreign woman pleads with him for a scrap from the table which even the dogs would eat? Can we not spare a table scrap of mercy and justice for the other human beings with which we share this planet?

Sometimes, it seems like America is obsessed with "the other". Barack Obama is "the other". People who live in cities are "the other". People who are Muslim are "the other". People who live in other countries are "the other". People who are gay are "the other". People who are intellectuals are "the other". What happened to give me your tired, give me your poor, give me your huddled masses, yearning to break free?

And yet I remember the American heritage of anti-immigrant sentiment. We hated the Irish, and we hated the Chinese, and hated the Eastern European, and made laws to limit the number of people from these groups who could immigrate to the United States. We interned thousands of innocent Japanese civilians during WWII because we were afraid of them.

America has been afraid for far too long. There is too much fear in America.

George W. Bush played on the public's fears, with his Orange Alerts and his war peddling (weapons of mass propaganda??) and his "Axis of Evil" rhetorical ploys, and this is his legacy: the political discourse in America continues to be poisoned with insecurity, anxiety, and blame.

I once thought that Barack Obama could be the kind of President to stand above all this, to inspire our country and renew our confidence and optimism, to lead with intelligence and vigor and honesty, to move our country in a more open and less fearful direction. Now I am not so sure.