Saturday, November 20, 2004

...and so it goes.

I seem to be spending more time staring into the middle-distance just beyond the monitor screen than I spend actually writing any words, this week. (Imagine a heavy, self-pitying and wretched sigh.) Sheer laziness in action, I imagine.

Red-herrings of thought lead me down blind alleys of speculation: Where do the words with which we tell our stories come from, to begin with? Not the language itself--I understand that, well enough. (Hey! I heard that snicker...Knock it off!)

I am transfixed by the idea that we can apply words to things we only imagine. We use words to describe a wil-o'-wisp of dreamed idea to transfigure that idea into a tale. Then we tell that tale, either in written or spoken form. Human beings have been doing so for untold generations. It's a mighty alchemy. It seems, as near as I can tell, to be an actual human need...and even those with little or no aptitude for tale-crafting show evidence of feeling that need.

Admittedly, many of the stories we tell serve a moralistic purpose. Didactic in nature, the tale-spinner has an agenda hidden (or not-so-hidden) inside the words. However, we also tell stories that quite obviously serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever. How else do you explain Joey?

The ability to create fiction seems to me an awe-inspiring thing. From the tiny white lies we use to soothe our friends and loved ones ("Oh don't worry--it's no trouble at all, really,") to the multi-volume would-be epics that everyone stopped reading after about book seven--and yes, I'm talking about precisely that author you think I might be talking about...but I only made it through book five.

Our words give our thoughts shape. Words provide escape for those concepts that otherwise would be trapped forever inside of us, transforming what would otherwise be terminal alienation into mere solitude.

There can be no compromise with war; it cannot be reformed or controlled;
cannot be disciplined into decency or codified into common sense; for war is the
slaughter of human beings, temporarily regarded as enemies, on as large a scale
as possible. [Jeanette Rankin, 1929]

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Blessed are the Peacemakers.

A little reading:

And something to ponder:

And also:

I'm still following links out, so will probably post more about the above links later.

It seems to me that the Bushies are happy to declare war on other countries and kill hundreds of thousands of human beings--while claiming to be God's servants.
No wonder they seem far more interested in quoting the Old Testament (at least the pieces and parts that serve their agenda) than actually examining the reported words of the Jesus Christ they supposedly serve.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness. for they shall be

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for
theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Why aren't the fundies going to the wall to chisel those words on our courthouse walls?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Post Election Teeth-Gnashing

Okay. It was a sad, crappy morning, in spite of the uncharacteristic-for-Seattle-in-November sunshine. Along with everyone else I know and associate with, I've got the post-election blues. (Imagine guitar-plunking...sad, string-bending notes.) I wasn't crazy about Kerry--I really preferred Dean. But you know how it goes: Anybody but Bush.

So what's the deal? Who on earth VOTED for George W. Bush? My first instinct this morning was to gnash my teeth and dismiss the election results as blatantly fraudulent. My next instinct was to condemn the voting American public--or at least just over half of them--as hopelessly, criminally stupid. How can people not see and understand the dangerous, terrifying situation that the religious right and George Bush holding power, uncontested and unchecked, presents to all of us? The Republicans control the House, the Senate, the majority of Governorships, the White House, and likely--within the next year--the Supreme Court. The left has de facto lost its voice in our government. That is NOT the way this system was set up to work. If the Right doesn't like the way the elections go, they just re-zone the districts--four Texas Democrats just lost their seats that way.

I've calmed down just a tad. The fact is, I know lots of people who voted for Dubya. I've been driving by the Bush/Cheney yard and highway signs every day. Hell, my parents supported GW and his buddies. I watched Democrats all over the country lose seat after seat in the House and the Senate to Republicans, as well as the majority of Governorships. If the Republicans claim to be the party of decency and morality, I--for one--would like to see them do some damn good for people besides rich WASPs. Now, I think there are good and honorable people within the Republican Party. I just wish they would fucking stand up and get a lot louder. Because right now, men like Karl Rove, John Ashcroft, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld are running this country. I know all those Americans who voted for GW thought they really were voting just for him...but they weren't.

Now. Here we are, and this is what we have to work with. It's pretty ugly. For the tin-foil beanie conspiracy theorists like myself, there is currently House legislation pending--section 3032 and 3033 of HR 10--that would allow the government to deport terrorist suspects to other countries for interrogation, without a hearing or a trial. The ugly part is that the legislation is hidden inside a bill to implement the 9/11 Commission Report.
Does anyone else smell a Stalin-esque trend in American politics? Right now we are free to say critical things about our government. We are free to congregate in groups that plan to vote that government right out on its ass. Unfortunately, I'm deeply afraid that perhaps they only allow us to do that to keep us safely out of the way and prevent us from taking more active measures. I guess we'll know, if bloggers and liberals, environmentalists and activists begin to disappear. In the name of patriotism. Prosecuted as domestic terrorists. Crucified in the "free" press as traitors. Hopefully, it isn't already too late.

Reclaim the word liberal. It isn't a nasty word. Refuse to hear it as an epithet. Be proud of it. It's a word that means we believe in civil rights. We think workers should have some power and a voice and some control over their own destinies. We think the American infant mortality rate is obscene. We think people should all have somewhere safe and warm to sleep, and decent health-care. We believe in compassion, and giving, and some of us fear God and some of us don't even believe in him--but we defend one another's right to subscribe to whatever faith we choose.

Get involved. Volunteer. Educate yourself and others. Write letters to your congressmen and women. Find out if you have a Democrat to get behind in 2008. If your state doesn't have a viable candidate, help dig one up. Hell, run for office. Batten down the hatches. Keep the faith.

A link to a blog called Obsidian Wings, tells more of the story. And if you don't care to follow the link and read the whole thing, here is an excerpt (emphasis added):

Last month Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Congressman, introduced a bill that would clearly outlaw extraordinary rendition. But Markey only has 22 cosponsors, and now the House leadership is trying to legalize torture outsourcing--and hide it in the bill implementing the 9/11 Commission Report.
These are excerpts from a press release one of Markey's staffers just emailed me:

The provision Rep. Markey referred to is contained in Section 3032 and 3033 of H.R. 10, the "9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act of 2004," introduced by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL). The provision would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue new regulations to exclude from the protection of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, any suspected terrorist - thereby allowing them to be deported or transferred to a country that may engage in torture. The provision would put the burden of proof on the person being deported or rendered to establish "by clear and convincing evidence that he or she would be tortured," would bar the courts from having jurisdiction to review the Secretary's regulations, and would free the Secretary to deport or remove terrorist suspects to any country in the world at will - even countries other than the person's home country or the country in which they were born. The provision would also apply retroactively.