Archive for March, 2008


4,000 and Still No Answers

The recent rash of violence in Iraq hasn’t been covered much in the news, but I feel it’s important to mention since many Americans still have friends and family fighting in this illegal and immoral war and the NNM is doing it’s best to distract us in every way possible.  Think about all the stupid things the NNM covers, while ignoring the important world events happening on a daily basis.  Who cares about Brittany Spears when their child is dying from a lack of health care?  Is the baseball steroid scandal all that important to those still rebuilding their lives from Hurricane Katrina?    When downtown Philadelphia is beginning to look and feel more like downtown Bogota, does it really matter that Obama gave a lightly poignant speech about race?  If our freedoms are eroding away and no one seems to notice, what exactly are our soldiers fighting for?

 4,000 US soldiers dead in Iraq (not including those who died of wounds after being airlifted to Kuwait, or those soldiers who have committed suicide at home because of PTSD),     29,451 US soldiers wounded in Iraq


Understanding Mother Teresa

A crisis of faith.  Can it be called such a thing when one has no faith?  Can one have a crisis of faith in humanity, or is that what life is about?  Maybe we put our faith in god because it is much more difficult -much more vulnerable – to put our faith in each other.  Just look at what we do to each other; how easily we cause the suffering of others – and perhaps more grave – how easily we dismiss those who are suffering as unimportant, unworthy, and unnecessary within our own existance.  Twain was right.  We are the Lower Animals.

I understand the Buddhist idea that we are the cause of our own suffering, but I don’t think detachment is the key.  Doing no harm is a good start, though.  Feeling another’s suffering and wanting to end it as you would want to end your own, as Jesus said, it a more valuable approach to the world overall, even if it causes you pain.  My crisis, as it were, is in merging the two – feeling the pain of my students and being able to detach from it enough to help end it (though being able to cut through more red tape would certainly alleviate some of the distress).

But even surrounded by people, this is a lonely life.  I cannot begin to imagine the strength Mother Teresa had, but I understand the intense need to believe that there is something more than the myriad of indolent and  incompetent souls refusing to reach out to those in need, yet proclaiming all the while that they believe in the One True God and follow his every word.  Did she ever just want to scream out, “Fools!  Hypocrites!  Liars!  What theology matters when the world lies in ruin at our feet and our brothers and sisters suffer before our very eyes?  What good is it to fight over who is right when god already knows?  Why waste time and resources on death and destruction when all that has ever been asked of us is that we love one another?”  I imagine her shaking her head in disgust and frustration, only to continue her work.  Thank you, Mother Teresa, for telling us that a crisis of faith is allowed even in the best of women.


In the Water

A report came out yesterday saying that there are all sorts of prescription drugs in our water.  Of course, the FDA (who can be blindly trusted because they’re a government agency) says that because the drugs are in the parts per billion, they can’t really have an effect on us.  Or can they?  Has it occurred to anyone that the severe rise in strange illnesses, tumors, etc… among the American public could be attributed to the prolonged effects of fertility, psychotropic, and various other medications in our WATER.  You know, the substance that gives and sustains nearly ALL life on the planet.  Does this concern anyone else?


Keep ’em Busy

Where I work, one of the strategies we rely on most is, “Keep ’em busy, stupid!”  Since our main goal is to give our students an education and keep them out of trouble, we spend a lot of time making sure that the devil has few idle hands.  While I was coming up with a few supplemental activities for this week, it occurred to me (far too late, I suppose) that our government has been using the same strategy with Americans since before the industrial revolution.

Americans work more and more, getting less sleep, less free time, and less time with our families.  Our leisure activities make thinking unnecessary – movies, video games, YouTube, etc…  Even our sports are becoming more solitary – running, biking, snowboarding, etc…  Gone are the times when Americans sat around contemplating art, culture, music, and literature.  Is anyone you know a member of a book club (one that offers more than just a discount on purchases)?  When you’re at Starbucks, do you hear anyone discussing issues of national or social importance? 

We’re moving away from each other, taught that it’s great to value individuality when what we’re really doing is isoloating ourselves from the rest of society so that we have no real idea what anyone else things.  It’s not like we can trust the NNM or the polls to tell us the truth, but god forbid any of us actually TALK to each other about something more pressing than who’s going to win American Idol or what happend last night on Lost (for those Americans actually intelligent enough to follow the plot).  When we do band together it’s to get a TV show like Jericho back on the air, not to organize a protest or mobilize to enact any kind of social change.  Our hands are not idle – they’re just not busy with anything of any importance. 

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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