Category Archives: politics

Dear Mr. President:

Dear Mr. President:

As the leader of the greatest nation in the world, I implore you to set politics aside and do the right thing on a variety of issues. Forget Congress. Introduce legislation and let the angels and other celestial planetary advisers do the heavy lifting with regards to encouraging congressional members to do the right thing. Take your case to the American people. They will recognize sustainable changes when they see them.

  1. No more war. Our Department of Defense is for the defense of the citizens. It is not a department of offense. Bring our soldiers home, close foreign bases and spend that money here. War is not sustainable. It is stupid, wasteful and against every spiritual principle there is. We can take a stand of non-engagement.
  2. No more casual, haphazard and wasteful use of finite resources such as fossil fuels. This is irresponsible for our future. Put a harsh progressive tax on these resources and let that inspire and provide incentive for the great minds of American entrepreneurs to come up with inventive ways to create nonpolluting energy sources.
  3. Pollution is ruining our planet and sickening our people. Be bold in legislative regulation of pollutants, regardless of what other countries are doing. We must lead in this regard.
  4. Outlaw cigarettes. It’s crazy that we spend so much money on health care for sick smokers while subsidizing the tobacco industry.
  5. Introduce legislation that allows for term limits in congress. Your office has a term limit; so should each seat in the House and the Senate. The gridlock we are currently experiencing would never happen if there were term limits in congress.

I know that you know that this list could go on and on. We need common sense leadership with an eye not for this term or the next term or for our grandchildren, but we need a visionary who can look 500 years into the future and make plans for our planet that are sustainable. We can’t just keep kicking these cans down the road because it is politically expedient.

Be bold, Mr. President. Be brave. Lead the world.

God Bless.

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Occupy for A Constitutional Convention

I, like most aware Americans, are quite taken with the Occupy Wall Street movement. But it is not lost on the billionaires that the movement is unorganized. “Give us jobs!” is like saying, “Give me money.” It means nothing, really. The movement needs to have one specific purpose.

I suggest calling for a Constitutional Convention.

I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I do know that the billionaires are not the problem, it’s the people who make the laws who are the problem.  We need to revamp that system.

The system by which we elect our officials is corrupt. Those with the money have the power. This is wrong. But as long as there are no term limits, the system will continue to become more and more corrupt. Do you think the current congress is going to make changes to the system and put themselves out of a job? Of course not. It’s up to us to do that.

We could get term limits if we hold a Constitutional Convention. It’s time to put career politicians out of business. We could get a balanced budget amendment. We could radically change the antiquated taxation system. Universal health care? We already have that, because whoever goes to the emergency room at the hospital has their bill paid by the rest of us. But it’s unorganized and inefficient. We could fix that with a Constitutional Convention. We could demand a decrease our dependency on imported oil. We could become energy-independent! (Other countries are.) We could mandate taxes on corporations who ship their jobs overseas. We could demand that we get something in return for all the foreign aid we send to other countries. If they can’t behave, they don’t get to cash our checks for billions of dollars.

So listen up, those of you who are demonstrating for all the right reasons: Demonstrate for something concrete. Demonstrate for one or two specific things that can be changed. We can all unite our voices and get many things changed if focus on one thing we can all agree on: the system must be changed.

It’s time for a Constitutional Convention.

Pass the word.

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Ability is no Indication of Character

This latest revelation of bad behavior by a member of Congress should really come as no surprise. He is just the latest of a long line of elected officials who think they can get away with anything.  He won’t be the last.

To my mind, there are two reasons for this. The first, is that there is a truism that states: People have contempt for those upon whom they are dependent. In other words, congressmen have contempt for their constituents, welfare recipients have contempt for the government, labor has contempt for management and vice versa, etc.  This is sad, but when we have a system that fosters the few to have so much and so many people to have so little, this is what we get.

The other reason for bad behavior among government officials is the way they’re elected. We don’t recruit those with the highest values or the strongest character. We elect those with the loudest party line who look the part and have the most money to spend to sway voters with whatever misleading information they and their supporters can fabricate and/or spin. Anthony Weiner and his kind may be good at their jobs, but if we expect leadership from these people, we are looking in the wrong direction. The same goes for athletes.  Why are we dismayed when they fail to live up to whatever elevated standards we think they ought to abide by? They’re athletes. They weren’t elected to higher office. Their ability is no reflection on their character.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe we have real leaders with true character currently in office. But those individuals do not comprise the majority in this broken system. Were we to recruit the best and the brightest with the highest possible standards, people who will provide real role models for this nation’s (and the world’s) children, then we need to change the system.

 

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War is Stupid

Yesterday was Memorial Day. The mainstream media (local and national) as well as social media was filled with wreaths, parades, flags and cemeteries. Lots of interviews with veterans and the widows, widowers and children of “our fallen heroes.” I’m a veteran. I know the patriotic mindset. And I know that much of what I saw yesterday was an attempt at justifying that which has no justification.

War is stupid. There’s no reason at all that those young men and women shouldn’t be living their long, productive lives with their families instad of getting blown apart and killed on foreign soil.

In WWII, the Germans were the enemy. They’re our friends now. Also, in WWII, the Japanese were the ones to kill. Now they’re our friends and allies. We waged a horrible war in Vietnam, but now, Vietnamese are very welcome here and Vietnam has now become a popular U.S. tourism destination. We take horrific delight in murdering our enemies, but then when it’s over, it’s over, and the Department of Defense (notice that this is not the Department of Offense) starts looking around for some new place to validate its existence and job security. War is stupid.

The United States could take the position that it stands for Peace and refuse to engage. For those sad countries that continue their war-like behavior, we could just pull back our aid. If they’re going to act like children, we can treat them like children. Let them know there are consequences for their actions. If they behave, they can play on the world stage. If not, they’re shunned. And if they want to retaliate: well, that’s why we have a Department of Defense.

Not only are the costs of war horrendously high for our service members, but all that cash could be redirected to support schools, our failing infrastructure, provide clean energy, economical health services and figure out a more honorable way of electing our officials.

I’m not the first one to say this. It’s been said many times before. But now, for me, it has become a spiritual issue. Are we going to actively engage the “family values” that everybody talks about? Don’t forget that the men and women who sign the papers that send our kids off to war die of old age. They, and and for the most part, their children, don’t die on battlefields. 

This election cycle, ask your candidates to itemize and explain not only the current issues, but the underlying values they hold and by which they will make decisions on your behalf.

There are no spiritual values that include war.

War is stupid.

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Justice and Sustainability

An attorney friend not long ago asked me, “What is justice?”

Good question.

I had no answer for him, but the very next day, while doing research for a theology class, I read the answer. It came from Matthew Fox’s book A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality and the Transformation of Christianity. In it, he says: “Sustainability is another word for justice, for what is just is sustainable and what is unjust is not.” The flavor of that phrase resonates with me as truth.

Today, of course, I’m thinking about the heart-wrenching oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But I’m also thinking about poverty and social inequities. I’m thinking of the poor people in Haiti without shelter during the hurricane season as the Goldman Sachs people defend their million-dollar bonuses.

I’m thinking about Capitalism and how it is neither sustainable nor just, and wondering what will replace it. I’m thinking about our energy, taxation, health care policies all of which are neither sustainable nor just, and wondering what will replace them. In fact, what policies do we have in place that are sustainable and therefore just?

Few, if any.

Even the way we elect our officials is unsustainable and therefore unjust, but to ask them to effect real change in the electoral system is like asking a knife to cut its own handle. Therefore, it’s up to us.

This is the task that lies ahead for all of us–personally and individually–and as an election approaches, these are the questions we should be asking the candidates. Ask them to define sustainability. Ask them to define justice. Challenge every decision they make on our behalf to consider, as the Iroquois Nation does, the effects of their policies seven generations hence.

 In 1887, Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This has always been true, but these days it can no longer be hidden. Now that it has been exposed, let us hold our elected officials to a higher standard. 

Let’s not let them get away with any of this any longer. Our lives depend upon it.

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Race and the Census

I’ve heard all the silliness over the race options on the census form.

First of all, Black is not a race, neither is White. Those are colors. When I was in school, Caucasian and Negro were both races. African-American is a culture, not a race. So what’s all the fuss about?African-Americans are insulted by being called Negro?  Am I insulted by being called a Caucasian?

Here’s the real problem. There is absolutely no reason for the government to be asking such questions. All it does is inflame, incite and breed suspicion. It divides us into factions, rather than binding us into the unity that is, and should be, America. The government should be color blind.

As soon as the government grants special privileges to anyone, everybody else clamors for their fair share.

If private corporations, charities, small businesses or adult-living facilities want to choose who to deal with based on socio-economic strata, age, or demographic, let them.

But the government census needs to count noses, not note what color thoses noses are. No good can come from that information.

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Inclusive vs. Divisive

Two things are happening right now that have me thinking.

The first is The Owl Box. I’ve been watching a wild barn owl, Molly, and her mate McGee, hatch out and raise their owlets in an owl box outfitted with cameras in San Marcos, California. Three owlets and two eggs as of this writing, with three million people worldwide watching and waiting for owlet number four.

I’m not as addicted as some in the chat room, but I am fascinated, and keep her site up as I work at my desk. I’ve learned a lot about the habits of wild owls. This is the internet at its best, and the site is raising money for bird habitat in the San Diego County area by selling t-shirts, mugs and mouse pads. Excellent.

The other thing currently going on that has me thinking is the tea party movement. They’re holding rallies starting in Nevada, and ending, presumably in Washington, D.C. My political leanings are no secret: I’ve been a Libertarian and disappointed. I’ve been a Republican and disappointed. I’m currently leaning a little left and am sure to be disappointed.

However. Never in my memory have I heard of a senator threatened because of a vote he cast, or heard truly hateful, despicable comments thrown at our elected representatives as they walk to work. Really? Is this who we want to be?

The owl box has brought people all over the world, especially school children, together to learn amazing and fascinating things about the world we live in. Grade schools are rerouting their lesson plans to include Molly. Nobody cares who’s Republican or Democrat. Everybody is suddenly excited about wild bird habitat, nature, and watching baby owls eat rodents and grow feathers. We all have this common interest, and I believe some lifelong friendships have been made in the owl box chatroom. I’m certain that future conservationists are watching in their classrooms.

Contrast that with what the tea party is teaching our children.

What kind of a person do you want to be? Inclusive? Or Divisive? Is there room in your life for both rodents and owls, or do you want only owls? Is there room in our democracy for all viewpoints? There should be. We should be able to take any controversial issue, discuss it rationally, agree and agree to disagree and then watch as the experiment continues.

It’s up to us. Each of us, individually, have a responsibility to teach our children–and maybe each other–that there is no right or wrong way. There is only how we react to the process.

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