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Friday, December 2, 2016

"Mourning" Castro's Death

Jeffrey Salkin (click here and read the first biography) wrote about Fidel Castro's death in a blogpost for Religion News Service (click here for the article). There are two distinct features about his article. With the first attribute, what Salkin took away with one hand he gave back with another. With the second one, Salkin shows that any criticism that significantly relies on decontextualization only serves those who lack self-awareness. And we should note that the lack of self-awareness can produce the kind of pharisaicallism demonstrated in Jesus's parable of the two men praying (click here for the parable). It also allows us to prance around like the emperor who had no clothes.

What does Slakin take away that he gives back? It is his rejoicing over Castro's death. For while Salkin says that rejoicing over the death of one's enemy is against his religion, he gives multiple reasons why he should celebrate Castro's death. The first reason is that Castro introduced Salkin to the fear of death via the Cuban missile crisis.  Another reason the significant number of Jewish victims of Castro's revolution. They became victims when they lost their businesses to Castro's nationalization of business. Here, these Jewish victims share some similarities with those Russians who lost their businesses during Lenin's hijacking of the Russian Revolution of October, 1917. Also Jews from Israel have suffered from Castro's support of Palestinian terrorism. However, Salkin is quick to note that Castro also treated Jews with some favorability as demonstrated by his embracing of Jews in Cuba, his allowing for Jewish emigration, and the memorial to the Holocaust located in Havana.

In addition, Salkin condemns the Communism that Castro adhered to. He has attributed, as have several conservatives I have run across, as many as 100 million deaths to Communism. And he unequivocally says 'Communism is a moral and spiritual failure.'

While Salkin gives all of the reasons in the world for why he should rejoice over Castro's death, he says he is prohibited from doing so. Thus, one has to wonder why Salkin lists all of the reasons why he should celebrate Castro's death while saying he doesn't do so. Here we might ask if Salkin himself is as much the focus of this article as Castro is.

As for the second characteristic of this article, we need to look at all of the reasons why Salkin should want to dance on Castro's grave. For example, when Salkin mentions the fear Castro induced via the Cuban Missile Crisis, what he misses is the fact that it was the Soviet Union that put those missiles there because it believed that there was a dangerous, dangerous to them that is, imbalance of power. For not only did the US have far more nuclear weapons than the Soviet Union did, the US had already placed nuclear armed missiles on the USSR's border in Turkey before the USSR even though of placing missiles in Cuba. The American missiles in Turkey posed as much threat to the Soviet Union as the Soviet Union's missiles in Cuba did to the US. This is the first area in which Salkin demonstrates a lack of self-awareness.

Salkin's criticisms of both Communism and Castro's support of terrorism also exhibits a lack of self-awareness. For example, what Salkin calls Communism is really Bolshevism. Here we should note that the Bolsheviks were opposed by the Mensheviks. Both groups claimed to follow Marx. And this is an important point because to be this specific allows us to see that Communism and Socialism are not monoliths. We should also note the criticisms that both Lenin and Stalin received from fellow Marxists. The most telling criticism comes from Rosa Luxemburg when she called Lenin's rule a bourgeoisie dictatorship because the structure of his government imitated the structure practiced by the bourgeoisie in their private sector ventures and businesses (click here). In other words, according to Luxemburg, what Lenin set up in the then new Soviet Union was not a Marxist kind of Socialism. Rather, what he set up was the same kind of rule used by the Tsars. The Tsars practiced totalitarian rule and they were strongly supported by Russia's Capitalists and business owners. Here we should note that what preceded Castro's revolution, a revolution that displaced so many Jewish business owners, was the brutal and corrupt rule of Batista. And we should note that until Castro came onto the scene, the US supported Batista's government.


And while Salkin's criticism of Castro's support of the PLO as a support for terrorism, why can we not make the same claim about any world leader who supports Israel's IDF with military aid? For doesn't the IDF terrorize and kill Palestinian civilians? Here, we should also note that following Castro's revolution but prior to the placing of missiles in Cuba, was not just the Bay of Pigs incident, there were numerous American attacks on Cuban civilian targets. In other words, America practiced terrorism against Castro's Cuba.

It isn't that Castro doesn't deserve to be severely criticized or that Salkin's criticisms of Castro lack merit; it is that before criticizing others, we need to be aware of our own faults and sins.  For without that self-awareness, our criticisms can be unduly harsh. In addition, without self-awareness, our criticisms will lack credibility because we are denying the faults and sins that others can clearly see. We saw examples of this during our last presidential election. Both the Republican and Democratic establishments could not derail Donald Trump's candidacy because while correctly noting his faults, they failed to admit their own failures and thus people rejected their messages because that denial of faults meant that there would be no change in the future. And people wanted change.





This denial of faults that stems from a lack of self-awareness that starts with the decontextualization of what Salking was reacting to.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For November 30, 2016

Just a reminder that the comments below are not edited as much as the regular blogposts. Therefore, they will contain more gramatical and spelling errors than the regular blogposts do.

Nov 15

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote from Simon Capiobianco about Social Justice Warriors. This appeared in the Heidelblog

I see two problems here. First, Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) do not make up a monolith. Second, with all of the fault finding of SJWs without noting their legitimate work and concerns, it seems that the person giving the assessment is vying for the position of pharisee from the parable of the two men praying. And that would make this particular critic of SJWs guilty of most of the faults this critic saw in SJWs.

Why would Capiobianco paint such a heterogeneous group as a monolith?  The flawed logic from above is obvious: If all SJWs are as described above, then they have no valid points to make--something stated rather explicitly. Thus, Capiobianco could be trying to discredit them so others don't listen to them at all. It is a a kind of censorship or book burning if you would. Of course, Capiobianco's assessments are arrived at through deduction, not though an inductive approach that would examine each of the issues or concerns that SJWs have.

Yes, some SJWs are guilty of some of the faults listed above. But not all are. And so what are the faults of conservatives?



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Nov 16

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost on how the Church should note let its pulpit be used  during worship services by politicians. Clark went on to explain the Church’s role in society. This appeared in Heidelblog.

I fully agree that no candidate should be speaking from any church pulpit during worship service. And I oppose the idea of the Church becoming an agent of the state like the Church did in the 4th century.

But let's face it regarding the last point, the Church is regarded by those in power to be one of several 'institutions of indoctrination' telling its members how to fit into society and obey those with authority.  What those with power do not want is for the Church to speak prophetically about and to those with power. When part of the Church did that during the 1960s, the liberal side of those with power called the movement in which the Church was participating in by speaking prophetically about and to those with power an 'excess of democracy.' To be sure, those in the Church who were speaking prophetically about and to those in power contained very few, if any, conservative elements. And it seems that regarding issues of militarism, economic classism and exploitation, and destruction of the environment the same applies today. Very few from the conservative churches are speaking prophetically about and to those with power. Many conservatives rightfully speak out against abortion and some have now decided to speak against racism. But the vast majority of the conservative Church refuses to speak out against the about those issues, previously mentioned, that are used to fill the coffers of those with power. Militarism, economic classism and exploitation, and destruction of the environment are issues where some who are wealthy are  benefiting at the expense of many who are vulnerable.

We need to consider whether in the Church's charge to preach the Gospel purely, should it preach against corporate sins as practiced by the state and society as it currently preaches against individual sins. We need to wonder if when the Church as an organization speaks only against personal sins, that such is by design to protect the status of those with wealth and power. For wouldn't  preaching against personal sins only make today's Church similar to the Church during the 4th century when it became an agent of the state?

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Nov 26

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on 9 things we should know about Fidel Castro. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website

There are many legitimate criticisms one can make of Castro. Some are listed here. At the same time, the context for his faults, some of which were provided by the US, are often overlooked so that some could talk of Castro as the Pharisee did of the publican from the parable of the two men praying. For example, the person Castro overthrew was a dictator who was know for corruption and brutality (see http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/cuban-dictator-batista-falls-from-power ). In addition, in order to overthrow Castro, the US militarily attacked civilian targets and that preceded the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Finally, the reason that the USSR placed missiles so near the US in Cuba was to gain some degree of parity with the US, which already had a decisive advantage in terms of nuclear weapons, and its nuclear missiles placed in Turkey which bordered the USSR.

Castro brought some good to Cuba but that good could never compare with the violence and the oppression that came with his rule. And while some would wantonly blame the Left for his tyranny, we should note that results of revolution often significantly mirror the regimes that were replaced. Please note that the key words 'often' and 'significantly.' Examples of that statement could be found in how well Lenin's regime imitated the Tsars and in how well Castro's regime imitated the regime of his predecessor Batista. Even the American Revolution brought a significant mirroring of British rule only without an aristocracy. We should note that the writing of The Constitution came in response to widespread dissent and Shays Rebellion. Thus, The Constitution was written in an effort to maintain the place of American elites in society.



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Nov 28

To Bruce Frohnen and his blogpost criticizing both those conservatives who opposed Trump’s candidacy and to all political nonconservatives. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

If were summarize Frohnen's political views, I would use a madlib approach to some of the sayings of Jesus. For example, when Jesus said that he was the way, truth, and the life, Frohnen appears to be saying that real political conservatism is the way, the truth, and the life and that no country flourishes without completely embracing it. Such a summary shows Frohnen's political exclusivism. For not only is the left counted by Frohnen as ravenous wolves looking to attack the sheep, so are are the wrong kind of conservatives. And such a view does not foster a sharing of power demanded by real democracy.

Frohnen's reference to the words of the cast of Hamilton to Pence as crybullying is pitiful. For the words spoken by the cast member representing the rest were nothing more than a listing of concerns which was sparked by the racism, sexism, and xenophobia associated with Trump's campaign. And if listing concerns is called crybullying, then it appears that, in Frohnen's America, not only conservative concerns are worth listening to but that he reacting ironically.

Frohnen's  antagonistic  attitude to all viewpoints that lie outside of what he considers to be true political conservatism makes his support for Trump troublesome. For if he is supporting Trump because Trump shares his antagonism, then we headed for a far more authoritarian politics than we would have had under a Clinton Presidency. And we would have had a somewhat authoritarian politics under her if she followed in Obama's footsteps.

Frohnen's antagonism toward all other views has been seen before. It has been seen in people from all political views from conservatism to liberalism to those from the Left. And it resembles the Pharisee from the parable of the two men praying. And we know what happened to the Pharisee. And we know from history what happens to nations whose leaders adopt the attitude of the Pharisee. But to those Pharisees who believe they have a monopoly on the truth, the destruction they brings comes as a complete surprise.



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Post Election Observations

An interesting mind experiment would be to speculate as to which major presidential candidate would retain the highest percentage of their votes had they run as third party candidates. Would Hillary retain a higher percentage of her votes if she ran as a third party candidate or would Trump? As was seen on TV, a primary reason why many supporters voted for both of these candidate was to vote against the other candidate. So the question becomes, how many Trump and Hillary voters were voting for the candidate because of how that candidate represented them? And yet the winner will appeal to the election results as a voter mandate for what they want passed by Congress.

The above is an important question in terms of using this latest election as a barometer for where our nation is. Whereas we know that abortion was a deal breaker for many conservatives who could have voted for Hillary, Trump's opportunistic use of racism, his sexism in both speech and conduct, and his mocking of a handicapped person during the campaign was not a deal breaker for them. That doesn't mean that they liked those traits in Trump; but at the same time, that does mean that such characteristics did not make Trump unacceptable to them.

If anything is to blame for the lowering of the bar of our presidential candidates this election year it is allegiance to the two-party system. For with the two-party system comes the problem that many voters are stuck with voting for a candidate they don't like simply because that candidate is not the other candidate. This problem can be solved by voting for third party candidates. However, third party candidates need to up their game if they expect to draw people from the two party system. The reason for their need to up their game is that having people vote for third party candidates demands that people change. And nothing requires more energy, and thus produces more resistance, than change. Thus, third party candidates need to become far more qualified if they expect draw votes from a reluctant voting population.

Because of the above, we might repeat a line said by Yoda at the end of Episode 2: 'The shroud of the Dark Side has fallen.' We would then add to fit our context: 'Elected to be President Donald Trump has been.' That a person of Trump's behavior and character has been elected to the office of President says much about the state of our nation today. Gregg Popovich, the head coach for the San Antonio Spurs ranted against the election results (click here for one of many sources as well as audio of his reflections on the election). That despite all of the intolerance shown by the xenophobic, homophobic, racist, and misogynistic tone and comments made, our nation elected Trump. In disgust, Popovich said:

 My final conclusion is, my big fear is --- we are Rome.

What more can be said? With control of the Executive and Legislative branches of our government being given to the major political party that, for the most part, denies climate change, opposes social safety nets like Social Security, wants to underfund public education, and treats big businesses' social responsibilities like prison shackles, what is to stop our government from being completely taken over by the wealth of private sector elites. In addition, what will inhibit America's emerging black hole that could suck the rest of the world down into the vortex of its own self-destruction? After all, didn't the world follow Wall Street's lead when the stock market collapsed in 2008?

So if anything, the most recent election has shown that it is America that has failed democracy and not vice-versa. And that by blindly voting for a candidate because that candidate was a not-them candidate in a two-party system, we could very likely be the cause of our own demise while we xenophobically point our finger at the rest of the world for the troubles we will now inherit.





 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Whiskey Tango Fox Trot Happened?

How did Trump, a candidate who decisively lost the 3 presidential debates, who was to face charges of raping a child (click here) but charges have been dropped by the accuser (click here)*, who talks the talk and allegedly walks the walk on molesting women (click here), who has built some sham businesses and who seems to have a tenuous relationship with reality get elected?

Perhaps one reason why Trump was elected is that the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate repeated the same mistake that many Republican elites committed when they were trying to stop Trump's bid for the nomination: they never admitted the failures of the establishment. And it would be difficult for Clinton to do that since she was enjoying President Obama's full support. But failing to admit the failures of the establishment meant that many voters could not believe that she was going to bring the change they wanted.


Perhaps another reason why Trump won was because of the magical and escapist thinking exercised by many of my fellow religiously conservative Christians who placed their faith in Trump because he was a Republican and he is not Hillary. Yes, we need change. But not all change is good. And these fellow believers exercised an aversion to thinking through issues and weighing the trade offs of their voting decisions. Please realize that a number of politically and religiously conservative Christians opposed Trump. But overly simplistic, one issue thinking resulted in many other religiously conservative Christians choosing Trump and choosing to believe that God will preserve us despite Trump's immorality and narcissism up close and presidential.


And just perhaps Trump's election is the result of America remaining fully committed to the two party system so that instead of voting for the candidates we wanted, we ended up voting against the candidates we didn't want.



Whatever the reason(s) why Trump got elected, we chose poorly and will now have to face the consequences. And whether we will choose another Trump in the future depends on two factors. First, will we face our own responsibility for the consequences we must now face? Second, will we survive Trump's presidency?


*  The additional report that charges have been dropped is a correction based on updated material. Originally, only the report that he is facing charges was part of the original post.




Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For November 9, 2016

 Either Nov 4 or 5

To David Robertson and his Nov 4 response to my Nov 4 comment. In his comment, Robertson claimed that I was completely unable to describe what equality is. The original blogpost was about vendors refusing to provide service to a same-sex wedding. This appeared in the Wee Flea blog

David,
your notes are both clarifying and confusing. They are clarifying in terms of your penchant for making negative personal remarks about me. They are confusing because as much as you say I don't answer your questions, I already have. You asked what I mean by equality. IN one of previous notes, I defined equality for the LGBT community in society. I wrote the following on November 3:

So why do you have a problem with what equality means? Take the SSM issue for example. Wouldn’t equality mean that those from the LGBT community would have the same rights as those who are heterosexual: the right to work and live as they want just as heterosexuals have the right to work and live as they want. And part of living as they want would be the right to marry the person of their choice just as heterosexuals can.

I was very specific regarding what it would take to enable those in the LGBT community to experience equality in society.  So how can you say that I haven't answered your question about equality?

Establishing equality for a group depends on where their rights are not being recognized. During the Jim Crow era in the States, establishing equality meant something else because they didn't suffer inequality in the same way that the LGBT community does today. For Blacks back then, having the unencumbered right to vote and run for office along with the right to eat, work, live, and go to school where they desired was establishing equality for them. In other words, having the same rights and opportunities that all other groups have constitutes being equal. And that point should be clear from how I described what would make those from the LGBT community equal in society today.

Then how is my understanding of marriage bizarre? Viewing marriage as a complete union between two people is bizarre?

Remember that marriage in both of our countries is an institution for all in society. And society consists of both Christians and nonChristians. And the answer to your question about two brothers, a question I anticipated, is obvious from my previous answer. But what you want is a single source, like the Scriptures, that authoritatively tell us what we can and cannot do. And this is one of the key differences between us. That while I recognize the authority structures taught in the Scriptures, IMO, you seem to go beyond that and embrace an authoritarianism that does not know when to turn off the authority switch and work with others as equals in determining what laws we should pass and what kind of society we should have. In the meantime, you seem to be trying to paint the LGBT community and their practices as a threat to society which merits sanctions against at least some of their practices. Have you ever considered that the part of what Romans 1 teaches us is that homosexuality, though it is not normal in terms of how God designed us to be, could be normal among unbelievers? And if it is normal in terms of what we expect because man has fallen into sin, why are we trying so hard to suppress so many things through law.

Have you ever worked with any homosexuals or had close personal friendships with any? I have and that is regardless of the fact that they know what I believe the Bible says about homosexuality. In fact, some of those friends of mine and I have discussed it and we can because they know that I respect them as equals. They also know that we can because I very much appreciate their contributions to society, to my family, and to my own life.

Other than that, the counterexamples your bring up work only if one selectively employs equality. Your counterexaple of stealing does just that. It leaves out what was said about equality being measured in terms of opportunities and rights and focuses solely on possessions. Your bringing up polygamy and incest forgets the feasibility  and equality problems the former poses and the health and equality problems the latter poses. And this is despite the fact that I already addressed those points.

The real key issue here is that of authority and its use or abuse. It seems that you believe that we cannot relate to nonChristians as equals when it comes to sharing society with them. It seems that you believe that Christians must impose Biblical laws and principles on nonChristian members of society lest things become unmanageable. Unfortunately, Church history does not give Christians much evidence to support their right to have authority over nonChristians in society. Our past, and even current persecution, of the LGBT community shows why we should not rule over them. Our own intramural wars, colonialism, and empires give ample testimony as to why we should not rule over nonChristians. And yet, you want Christians to use the Bible to rule over nonChristians in society through the laws government passes.

And while we discuss these things, you continue to make negative personal remarks about me. And I am trying to think why ministers would assume the right to speak that way to me when we are all like the publican from the parable of the two men praying. Just as your negative personal remarks provide obstacles for me to take you seriously, Christians' efforts to control and impose their religious views on nonChristians through legislation make it very difficult for many of them to want to listen to the preaching of the Gospel.

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Nov 7

To Joe Carter and his blogpost containing 12 recommendations for the Religious Right. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Recommendations #2, 4, 5, 6,10, 11, and 12 are very good suggestions. However, there will be disagreement on how to implement some of those recommendations. For example, does religious liberty for all include the inclusion of those who do not have a BIblical view of sex who want to participate in SSM or its exclusion? Doesn't legally prohibiting SSM because of what the Scriptures say about sex and marriage deny the religious liberties of those who don't hold to the Biblical view?

As for recommendation #7, the rejection of theocracy is not equal to the prevention of some kind of supremacy for Christians over the rest in society. And when we have some kind of supremacy, we don't fully have religious liberty. For liberty - equality = privilege. And the absence of theocracy does not equal the absence of supremacy especially when we measure supremacy on a continuum. The absence of theocracy simply means that there is no complete control over society by Christians. Paternalism is another way by which Christians seek to control over society. For with paternalism, Christians insist that the Biblical statements on a given individual issue be made law because of what is good for society. So Christians are trying to exercise a measure of control over society for society's sake. Again, the SSM issue comes to play here. One of the reasons why many Christians opposed SSM was because they believed that traditional marriage is essential for human flourishing and that society was not big enough for both traditional and same-sex marriages.


Or another way by which Christian paternalism can be exercised is for the government to grant special privileges and resources for the Church in order for the Church to take care of more and more of those who are in need. That means that instead of the government pitching in to help those people, it should bless the Church both financially and with political power so that the Church can have the resources to do the job.The Church, in essence, becomes the government's social service military force except that the Church does not take orders from the state. It is a way of making Christianity predominant in society without insisting on a theocracy. We should also note that after a certain threshold, the more the Church tries to replace the government in helping those in need, the louder the Church says that the government is not to represent all of its citizens, especially those citizens who are vulnerable.

As for recommendations #4 & 8, should we refuse to put those who have other political ideologies on trial or try to dethrone those conservatives who denigrate the character of either liberals or leftists? Should we do the same to liberals and leftists who try to do the same? If we are going to have a democracy, then we need to readily listen to and work with people from all sides otherwise we will be seeking control over them rather than sharing power with them.

As for recommendation #9, since politics and culture are so intertwined, it is too difficult to say that one should care more about the one or the other. It is the case that both culture affects politics and politics affects culture.

In short, those of us who are religiously conservative Christians, regardless of whether we are politically conservative, have a penchant for authoritarianism. That is because the Bible legitimately uses authority structures as a framework for so many of our relationships. As a result, we may not be able to turn off that authority switch when dealing with society. Just because we are not pushing for a theocracy doesn't mean that we are not seeking to have authority others in some way, shape, or form. Those who cannot turn off that authority switch probably embrace to some degree authoritarianism. And the problem with embracing authoritarianism, is that we have little patience with those who do not fall in line with our agenda.

A real democracy for a pluralistic society requires democratic processes as well as democratic state of being. That democratic state of being includes a preference to share power than to seize it. That state includes a concern for and solidarity with those who live in the margins of society so that we are not just pressing our own demands, we are pressing their demands as well. A true democracy is the sum of democratic processes and a democratic state of being. The latter can never be achieved without the former and the former without the latter simply results in the hijacking of democracy whether the hijacker is an individual, a small group, or the majority of people.


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To Mark Howard and his blogpost on politics in America and the Church in Iran. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website

We should note the similarity between the effects of the Shah's rule over Iran with that of those who seized power after the revolution. That similarity can be called guilt by association. Whereby Christianity suffered significant setbacks with the rise of the revolution but is now growing, so too many Muslims suffered much because of the Shah's westernizing of Iran and that led to acceptance of Ayatollah Khomeini back in 1979.

In addition, just as the pendulum swung in one direction under the Shah, how far the pendulum is swinging now is due to how far it was pushed before.

Both points here must be remembered when trying to understand Iran's current state of affairs as well as how we should work for change in all nations including our own.

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To Joseph Sunde and his blogpost about bringing back child labor but doing so without without the abuses of the past. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Kids as young as 16 already work. To allow children under 16 to work is to increase the supply of labor in the job market where the median age and average educational level for low skilled jobs have been rising. Of course, one of the accommodations for allowing younger children to work would be to establish an even lower minimum wage for them. Yes, that serves the interests of some corporations, but what does it do for the overall family income in which economic hopelessness is on the rise because of the loss of adequate paying low skilled jobs?

In addition, as one who taught college, I saw the conflict many students faced between putting in enough hours of work to pay their bills and putting in enough hours in their studies to get a true education. All too many times, the latter suffered significantly because of the former. Should we do the same on a wide scale with children who are younger than 16?

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Nov 8

To Joe Carter and his blogpost evaluating the different approaches to voting from a Christian perspective. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

What needs commenting on is the quote from Jeremiah. For unlike the exiled Jews in Babylon, we American Christians have an earthly citizenship in America. And thus, we bear a responsibility for both America's prosperity and how it obtains that prosperity. So it seems to me that we shouldn't just pray and work for our prosperity, we should pray and work for justice so that our welfare doesn't come at the expense of the welfare of others either here or abroad.







Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Blast From The Past

A few nights ago on one of the C-Span channels, I saw what, in political campaigning terms, could be called the 'good old days.' It was the second Presidential debate between then President Ronald Reagan and former Vice President Walter Mondale. This debate did epitomize the good old days.  It did so not necessarily because of the cast of characters; it did so because of how the debate was carried out. There was no mention of the size of someone's hands or what seedy things one of the candidates said or did in the past. And the debate made no mention of emails nor were the debate questions favorably leaked to a candidate.

Yes, some of the same stuff that was going on then still goes on today. There were American interventions that led to chaos and violence in 1984. Only then, the focus of American interventionism was more on Central America than on the Middle East despite the fact that the Middle East required a great deal of attention. However, we weren't trying to overthrow regimes in the Middle East back then like we were in Central America or like we do today. 

What made this presidential debate a blast from the past is that the debate focused on the issues. Those asking the questions asked specific questions about issues and policies. The debate participants tried to answer those questions in detail as best as possible. And the participants didn't interrupt each other. It was one way in which a presidential debate should be conducted. But a debate like that one could not be conducted the same way today.

What most qualifies today's presidential candidates from the two major parties is who each candidate is not. Hillary is not Trump and Trump is not Hillary. And so in the eyes of the party loyalists, that is all that is required for them to vote for their respective party's nominee. Thus, the loyalists from each  party will vote for the not-them candidate. Loyal Republicans will vote for the not-Hillary candidate and loyal Democrats will vote for the not-Trump candidate. In addition, many voters who call themselves independent will only vote for Hillary or for Trump. Such voters are not independent, they are bipolar.

Those of us who are disgusted with this year's presidential campaign might want to consider an ugly truth. Just as art reflects life, so too a nation's candidates reflect its people. These candidates just might be us minus their privileges and resources. And so if we want better candidates, we need to be better people. And just as better people would demand more from themselves, so too would such people demand more from their candidates other than being not-them candidates.

Our nation is really divided by multiple groups who feel they are superior to all other groups. And we are told that the solution to such division is to be united. But such rhetoric is really too vague to act on. So instead of saying that we should be united, I think we should work on sharing more with those who disagree with us. We need to share dialogues as well as power. The more we look at our democracy as  an arena of competition, the more the same-old, same-old continues. And the more the same-old, same-old continues, then the greater the probability that future elections will, if we are lucky, only be as bad as this year's presidential election.


 

Monday, November 7, 2016

ONIM For November 7, 2016

Presidential Election



Christian News

World News

Standing Rock Sioux - DAPL News

Pick(s) Of The Litter