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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What I Did During My Last Blog Break

The last few weeks have been extremely busy for my family.  We had a family member who needed hospice care and there is nothing like watching someone die in home hospice care to give one respect for argument supporting death with dignity euthanasia. To see someone who was so vibrant, even during part of this person's battle with cancer, fade so quickly and be reduced to wearing diapers and having their means of only communication become reflexive moans is hard. 

Fortunately for this family member there were enough family members around to give this person a lot of care and support. And we should note that everybody in that situation deserves that care and support, but not everyone has adequate family resources. And that should pose a moral challenge for all of society, but it doesn't. And it doesn't because we are too prosperity whipped to have a wide circle of compassion. Sure, we extend that compassion to family and friends, but do we want to pay the necessary price so that those who don't have the means can receive adequate care and respect? Those whose battle cry is "personal responsibility!" are rhetorically asking: "Am I my brother's keeper?" while denying their own personal responsibility to other people in need, to their neighbor.  

Something I didn't do during the last blog break was vote. And my excuse isn't the fact that I was out of state on that day and had not filled in an absentee ballot. Rather, I looked up who was on the ballot and found no one to vote for. I didn't even find anyone to use to vote against the ones I opposed. I opposed all of them. 

I refuse to vote for any candidates from the 2 major political parties. The differences between them is like the difference between regular poison and time-released poison. And since there were no third party candidates to even write in, I found that there were no candidates to vote for.

We should note that Martin Luther King Jr. equated having no one to vote for with not having the right to vote. He said that in his I Have A Dream speech. And perhaps the biggest reason why Republicans won the most recent election is because there was no one to vote for. If we remember, we voted in the Democrats because the Republicans failed. And do we now honestly think that the Republicans will succeed because the Democrats failed? Or is the real reason for our bipolar voting that we don't care enough to invest ourselves in the democratic process? What we want is to be able to vote in the kind of government we can ignore until the next election. But each time we try to do that, we feel ripped off as our political-economic system wages war against our wealth, health, environment, and the rest of the world.

And what is the response when we ask others to vote for third party candidates? Isn't the response this: "I don't want to vote for a loser." Let's wake up here. When we find ourselves constantly voting against candidates or continually switching our votes to change the party in power, aren't we already voting for losers and they are the worst kind of losers at that? They are the worst kind because by winning elections, they gain power to make us feel the effects of them being losers.

Finally, something that doesn't apply to what I did on my blog break is observing Veterans Day. It doesn't apply because this day is on the day that the blog break is over. But this day's observance merits reflection.  We've heard so many times that our troops are defending our freedoms. And here, what we are witnessing is a slight of hand trick. For if the decisions that send  our troops into harm's way is not made to defend our freedoms, then how can our troops be defending our freedoms when they are on their missions?

Those who are eager to say that our troops are defending our freedoms regardless of where our troops are and what they are doing are using the valor of our troops to as a moral shield to protect our foreign policies. And it works this way. If our troops are in action to defend our freedoms, then what they do on their missions are defending our freedoms. Thus, those missions themselves are also defending our freedoms and that is regardless of the reason for the missions. Thus the policies that, despite their faults, require these missions must also defend our freedoms.

And while we get a moral ego boost by supporting the courage and willingness to sacrifice themselves for us by declaring that our troops are defending our freedoms, what we are actually doing is to prohibit honest questions from being asked about why we are sending our troops into harm's way.

The real way to honor our troops on Veterans Day is to thoroughly study why they are being sent to wherever they are sent and then study and speak out on whether those troops are being sent to defend our freedoms. See, it is easy to sing patriotic songs, to wave flags, and to assume that the missions our troops are sent on have enough merit to warrant the risks they take. But it takes courage to be different and cry out that the mission has no merit or that the mission is for the benefit of special interests rather than our freedoms. And if we don't have the courage to think for ourselves and speak out, then perhaps it is time to admit that we don't deserve the protection provided by our troops.


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