Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thinking About a New World

I wonder if we shall ever return to a period of relative comity in this country. Perhaps it is “the times” in which we live. Perhaps we have never lived in a period of harmony. I keep hoping that common sense, or perhaps a seeking of the greater good will arrive, or return(?) to the country to allow us to manage these troubled times without shrieking at one another.

I have given up watching televised news altogether, mainly because what passes for news on any of the main media channels is content-free. As old Will said, it is all “full of sound and fury, and, in the end, signifying nothing.”

But it is not simply the dreadful talking heads of the Fox media pseudo-news outlets. I read recently of a suicide bomber in, I think, Pakistan (but it matters little exactly where). The bomber was a young teenaged boy. In an interview, his father acknowledged his role. He had oriented (brainwashed?) the son, and had strapped on the dynamite vest. He had sent his son off to die, and, more to the point, to kill more innocents. And I sat there listening, beyond belief. It requires a theatrical suspension of disbelief to listen and pretend to understand how a father could raise a child so as to die in the cause of some irrational belief system. How could anyone do that? And how could any religion sanction such an action? Are we in some kind of time warp that people would act this way toward one another?

And how do we reverse such an awful trend?

The talking heads don’t personally strap dynamite vests on young children. That requires a sacrilegious madness. And we seem to have a never ending supply of such madmen. But the talking heads do inspire fear, and they inspire anger toward, in our case, the people at the top of our government who actually are attempting to solve the mess created by the prior ideologues of the right. Whether they will indeed succeed, or the world instead collapses of its own debt load remains uncertain. But somehow, we, the world at large who sit by daily and watch and listen to the madness around us, need to consider how we can begin acting in an enlightened manner towards one another.

Morality does not mean bending others toward your will. Morality requires listening to the grievances of the poor, the sick, the children, the elderly and then thinking about what mankind can do to alleviate hunger and disease, and suffering. Morality does not involve telling gays and lesbians that they cannot and should not live like the rest of mankind. Morality requires that we attempt to understand rather than condemn them. Morality does not require trying to convince non-Christians to become Christian.  Instead it requires us to rejoice in the knowledge that others have found for themselves their own paths to enlightenment. 

Before George Bush and his supporters, the United States was the wealthiest nation on earth. Should we ever return to such a position, perhaps we should consider how to use some of that wealth to alleviate distress, rather than using it to build bigger and faster bombers. It is not that bombers will never be needed, but that they should be the last resort, rather than the first.

And the make-believe news media. Ahh, yes the media. They make too much money and spread too much distress. They are our Chicken Littles. We need to switch them off.

Yes, that’s it. The little channel changer, or maybe even the off switch.  Go get a book instead, preferably not one written by that Coulter creature.

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