Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, CT

I think the Sandy Hook Elementary School building should be turned into a living memorial that houses a center dedicated to the study and prevention of violence particularly against children and women. As an Institute it could be the home site of an educational center, think tank and political action group working to promote a more peaceful, child-friendly world.

We need an organization that works aggressively at the national and international level to prevent these kinds of crimes by working for policies having to do with everything from mental health issues to culture change.

LA Times - Timeline of Deadliest US Mass Shootings

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown, CT

"My grief, I find, is not desolation or rebellion at universal law or deity. I find grief to be much simpler and sadder... All the things he loved tear at my heart because he is no longer here on earth to enjoy them. All the things he loved!"
- John Gunther, Death Be Not Proud

I am personally completely un-ironic. I fail at cynicism. I frankly detest it.

That is not to say that we should not be skeptical but it is to say that if you don’t chose to believe in something, and it is a choice, something beautiful and strong, you will fall into despair. It is to say that the point and meaning of life is to love and love well and try to live a world that privileges this. I do believe that “God is love.” The presence of any kind of goodness is the presence of this joy for an-other and the allowing of the joy of others – this is in fact the definition of God.

I cannot grasp what happened in Newtown. Who can? I know that there was somehow a failure – something failed. I think maybe the failure had to do with a failure to inspire to love. I know only one thing that might help and that is to embrace love … love as it really is.

Focus on the love people, focus on the love.

Let us be more joyful, more kind, more compassionate – let us love one another and follow the logic of what that means.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

overturning the tables of the money changers - Why I'm Voting for Barack Obama.

I am voting for Barack Obama because I believe he believes in equal civil rights for all people. I believe he believes that women own their own bodies and should receive equal pay for equal work. I believe that he believes that it is wrong to judge people, to impinge their civil rights because of their race, gender or sexual orientation. I believe that he believes in equal access to education – both in quality and availability. I believe that I and the people that I love will and have fared better under Barack Obama.

I cannot vote for a man who would callously dismiss 47% of the population when he is behind closed doors and he thinks it’s safe to speak the truth.

I cannot vote for a man who has to be told that there are qualified, smart, able women.

I cannot vote for a man who would pass laws that would curtail the rights of people because his personal religious views tell him to …

I am voting for Barack Obama because I remember George W. Bush and the condition his policies and practices left the U.S. in. I remember the economic spiral down, the financial meltdown that followed in the wake of two terms of financial policies meant to support “the job creators”. I remember the deregulation that lead to Wall Street and the need for bailouts. I shudder that Mr. Romney and so many others have forgotten what those policies did to this country.

So much of the vitriol is dressed up as Christianity. Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world.” He really didn’t seem interested in what the government was doing … He didn’t speak of it except to say “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” … but I wonder if people who would legislate Christianity’s directives wouldn’t be serving their faith better if they focused on the love and generosity part.

Give to every man that asks of you; and of him that takes away your goods ask them not again. – Luke 6:30

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. – Romans 14:13

I find these tenets more in keeping with Obama’s policies than with Romney’s.

Friday, October 12, 2012

reconstruction in a time of war

“But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?” - Mark Twain
The uncivil discourse, the stalemate and partisan rhetoric that dominates our political landscape exists because we allow it to exist. We participate in it. We dehumanize and villainize our countrymen as if we were at war with them. We perpetuate horrific visions of the opposing sides’ standard barriers and we insist that they are the embodiment of evil. Our leaders act as they do because we provide them with the paradigm of their methods. Who are we that we espouse values of love and fellowship, charity and kindness … compassion … and yet we willingly eviscerate those who are not like us. We take satisfaction in their woes … we celebrate their failures. What we cannot see is that in hating our opponents, we hate ourselves. In seeking their failure, we race after our own. What Lincoln knew … the lesson we have yet to learn … the same divisions that tore us apart still reside.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

the gender gap

I've been in arguments over whether or not Feminism has a legitimate role today. Reading the news daily, both international and domesticate, I'm struck by the hate speech and the hate crimes that are directed toward women. Even in instances of domesticate violence, what gives someone the mental permission to harm a woman? Do we have a culture that, while appalled in regard toward violence against women, never-the-less sees it as inevitable, understandable? Is there a relationship between the male/female wage disparity and crimes against women? What is it that gives permission to cause harm to women? Mickey Shunick Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Ashley Summers Amina and Sarah Said Drew Peterson Honor Killings in U.S. Cold Cases -- note the number of women on this list. afterthought: Huffington Post College women and Pay

Sunday, March 18, 2012

living and courage

In my small life, where courage has to do with smaller things, I wonder what the world would look like if folks like Martin Luther King jr had, when they were beginning, been diverted by practical concerns.

We all hope for the good, for a place and a community that values us and the things we love. For all of us … we long for fairness and consideration. We hope for conditions that will move us to “a better place.” My better place, my ideal, is one that privileges creative excellence, the exchange of ideas, mutual trust and respect.

As one of my most esteemed colleagues has said, hope is passive. These things require actions to be made real. It is a failure of imagination and courage which keeps us from achieving our ends.

Daily, in incidental places and ways, we are challenged to perform our ethical position - to make words and deeds match. In the face of these challenges there is always a temptation to give into what would seem “practical.” It seems futile, foolish, to pursue the ideal. The path toward the ideal is easily abandoned. The constant voice of “they” admonishes us to be “reasonable.”

To walk away from our ethical imperative harms us – diminishes what we would call our soul. It makes us less than we could be. It takes a knife to our ambitions. It assures our bitterness.

In the large and the small, we must build the world we want to live in. We must adhere to, and not defer, our ethical position. We must match words to deeds.

We must demand of our leadership that, rather then divining the path, that they envision it. We must demand that they persuade us, and others, to the value of their course. We must demand that they lead us through the courage of their convictions, that they must risk failure in order to achieve real success. We must demand that they make war on mediocrity and complacency. We must demand that they inspire us through their example.

I believe that the place and the time I live in can come to fruition. I believe that we sit at the brink of a remarkable moment. I believe that the challenges that we face are merely opportunities. I believe that what is required of us … what will achieve our goals, is the courage to pursue the course of our ideals … and leadership, real leadership.