Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bats In The Belfry

I’m going to complain about two things at once in this article, seemingly independent but related on fundamental ground. So bear with me ☺

People oftentimes ask me what I think about “illegal immigrants” coming to the United States, wrecking our system of labor, increasing the burden on our tax paying citizens, and causing all-around chaos and havoc. “We are losing our language,” I hear. “We are losing our culture.” “These Mexicans need to learn English.” The list goes on and on. Well, hatemongers, here is my answer to you.

First of all, since I live in a free society that respects a person’s right to choose his or her destiny, to own property, and to follow his or her own path to happiness, I don’t think that ANY immigration is illegal. I think it is the burden of the society to deal with increased immigration, without closing its borders, much like your local movie theater will have more employees on hand during a holiday or UPS or FedEx hires more employees during the winter months to handle demand. The immigration exists as a symptom reflecting the very state of the country that conservatives hold with reverence – that this country is great and mighty, and is the most desirable place on earth to live, where one can find opportunity and freedom.

How ironic it is that a nation so self-absorbed in the concept of freedom would close its doors to those most desperately seeking it.

I never wanted the job of serving you at Denny’s, cleaning your toilets at the hotel, or picking your soybeans and tobacco anyway. So much for taking jobs of Americans.

And since so many people out there believe the United States of America is a Christian nation founded on Christian principles, I have one thing to say to you:

From the New International Version of the Holy Bible, Gospel of Luke, Chapter 10, verses 25 – 37, from (

25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
27He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'[c]; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[d]"
28"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.
35The next day he took out two silver coins[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

If we were a Christian nation we wouldn’t leave immigrants outside our borders to die, but would give the shirts off our backs to help them get on their feet and make a better life for themselves.

Another thought comes to mind concerning the fear that many Americans have concerning “losing our country to the immigrants.” Again, from the Holy Bible NIV, Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 26, verses 51-52:

51With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

We reap what we sow. Mexicans and other immigrants flocking to our country, bringing to themselves a better life, bringing their language, their culture, their own system of supply and demand, and soon their currency and way of life, is not a new concept. After all, this is precisely what Europeans and Americans did to the Native Americans.

But I see something else at work here. This is the Theory of Evolution at its best. Our country is evolving at much the same way as a human would do, in a macroscopic sense. Don’t know what macroscopic means? Try reading a book instead of burning it.

After our country found its independence, we were a new life, with bright shining eyes, a smile of innocence, and a resolve to explore, to find good in the world, and do what is right.

As we aged we became the schoolyard bully, pushing and hitting the weaker kids around, making our own mark, declaring our own place during phys-ed or recess. "Mess with the the best, die like the rest." During this time, we hurt other kids, and we know it. We hurt the ones that stood up against us even more.

And now our country is a teenager. We are realizing the pain and suffering in the world, and we want to do good but an overwhelming sense of dissonance and angst distract us from what is sensible and right. We fear everything we do not understand, and feel since we are in charge of our own destinies, we are the only ones who know what is best for us. Since it is best for us, we know beyond doubt it is best for other people.

But guess what ladies and gentlemen, the evolution will continue. Soon, our country will be an adult, and after that, a wise elder. I hope I live to see these times, for when this happens, the force of will known as American Determination will support true freedom for everyone on this planet, whether or not he or she lives within our borders, supports our policies, or agrees with our general outlook. These are the times of acceptance and tolerance that will truly lead us to a more peaceful and safer world, and I pray to God every day that it comes to pass. And soon.

What Color Are You?

A relative of mine recently discussed on her blog the characteristics of living in a red state as opposed to living in a blue state. The message I believe was that all of us, no matter what political affiliation we claimed we had, had characteristics of both conservatives and democrats. For those who are unaware, a “red” state voted Republican in the last U.S. election, and a “blue” state voted Democrat. Republicans are often referred to as “conservative,” while Democrats are often called “liberal.”

Before I go further into my personal characteristics (following up on the “things that make fatbody tick” theme), I would like to gripe about the characterizations of conservative and liberal.

The Oxford English dictionary, online edition ( defines “conservative” as:
• adjective 1 averse to change and holding traditional values. 2 (in a political context) favouring free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas. 3 (Conservative) relating to a Conservative Party. 4 (of an estimate) purposely low for the sake of caution.
• noun 1 a conservative person. 2 (Conservative) a supporter or member of a Conservative Party.

The same dictionary defines “liberal” as:

• adjective 1 willing to respect and accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own. 2 (of a society, law, etc.) favourable to individual rights and freedoms. 3 (in a political context) favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate reform. 4 (Liberal) (in the UK) relating to the Liberal Democrat party. 5 (especially of an interpretation of a law) not strictly literal. 6 given, used, or giving in generous amounts. 7 (of education) concerned with broadening general knowledge and experience.
• noun 1 a person of liberal views. 2 (Liberal) (in the UK) a Liberal Democrat.
— ORIGIN originally meaning “suitable for a free man”: from Latin liberalis, from liber ‘free man’.

My gripe is that I see the United States of America as the flagship country of the world in the cause of freedom. Isn’t that what we hear every day on the news from our President? “Freedom” will not be defeated. You can’t deny “freedom.” When the people of X country experience the “freedom” to make their own decisions, there will be peace.

The introductions to two pesky documents come to mind:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Now if you know the documents these quotes come from, congratulations, you are smarter than 75% + of the US population who could not identify these quotations.

From my point of view, if you follow what is said in these quotations, you must understand there is a message of tolerance and respect therein. The word “liberty” is mentioned twice, and before anyone tries to split hairs or put spin on this:

The Oxford English Dictionary online edition defines liberty as:

• noun (pl. liberties) 1 the state of being free from oppression or imprisonment. 2 a right or privilege. 3 the power or scope to act as one pleases. 4 informal a presumptuous remark or action.
— PHRASES take liberties 1 behave in an unduly familiar manner towards a person. 2 treat something freely, without strict faithfulness to the facts or to an original. take the liberty do something without first asking permission.
— ORIGIN Latin libertas, from liber ‘free’.

So it seems to me that the entire U.S political way of free thought is based on liberalism, the act of believing in liberty, and taking the liberty to do things (like to be conservative and buy SUVs and declare liberals traitors). I would think that if you opposed the liberal way of thinking by clinging to some “conservative tradition” that isn’t well defined in argument that you, at the heart of the matter, don’t believe in a “free political state.”

That is, of course, contrasted with Tyranny, which the Oxford English Dictionary, Online Edition defines as:

• noun (pl. tyrannies) 1 cruel and oppressive government or rule. 2 a state under such rule. 3 cruel and arbitrary exercise of power or control.
— DERIVATIVES tyrannous adjective.

But a tyrannous nation would be a nation that forces its philosophical will upon everyone, like telling them they can or can’t do trivial things; telling them they have to believe the things the majority believe or be held treasonous; telling them they must support troops and a president without dissent or be declared NOT a patriot; denying them rights given to all “normal” Americans (e.g. the right to marry, the right to assemble in protest, and most importantly, the right to disagree).

What I just hinted at is that conservatives can argue against liberals until they are “blue in the face” but really, if you think about it, they are all liberals. How many times can you turn on Faux News and see frat boys claiming that they should be allowed to drive oil guzzling machines if they so choose; that they can hoard money and not subsidize the poor; that they have the right to choose where their children go to school; that they should be able to accept corporate campaign contributions; that they should be able to do what they want when they want if they can afford to do so. These, like it or not, are liberties, and a belief that one has these choices, like it or not, is liberalism.

That is of course unless archaeologists have found the troupe of Hummers the founding fathers drove around as they mapped their new country.

Ok well back to the point. Now that I’ve griped that conservative and liberal don’t really fit as extremes of the same political spectrum, I will go ahead and give you my characteristics that make me agreeable to a “red state,” as well as my characteristics that make me agreeable to a “blue state.”

- I believe in a strong central governement.
- I believe in a national ID that all citizens should carry at all times.
- I believe in having prayer or spiritual “meditation” time in public schools.
- I believe in anti-desecration legislation against symbols of our society.
- I believe in the right to own firearms.
- I believe abortion should be illegal.
- I believe that people should not be taxed according to income.

- I believe in the socialization of medicine and health insurance.
- I do not believe in the privatization of social security and welfare programs.
- I believe the death penalty should be abolished.
- I believe in the institution of gun-owners insurance.
- I believe we should respect our environment; that we should curb our contribution to global warming, conserve oil and other resources, and protect endangered species.
- I believe in nuclear non-proliferation.
- I believe in the separation of chuch and state.
- I believe the words "under God" should be removed from The Pledge of Allegiance
- I believe the act of "swearing on the Bible" when testifying to a court or when taking public office should be abolished
- I believe in the freedom of religion.

Now, you get extra points if you realized that having the choices to have these rights and the beliefs stated above, whether in blue states or red states, is liberalism, then you get a pat on the back and a “hooray” from me.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Spider Within the Webs

One of the things that really pushes my buttons is when people just plain don't think. Now I understand being stubborn. I of all people know I can get my mind on something or get an idea in my head and see how far it takes me. What I don't like is when people claim they are thinking, claim they are tolerant, claim they are understanding, and then get so intolerant, hard-headed and stubborn that you wonder "what are they thinking?"

This kind of behavior only bothers me when it comes from someone of repute, someone trusted with the responsibility to not act this way. If I were to get upset at every instance of this behavior, i'd be mad at every person alive, including myself, constantly.

Here is an example. There's this new controversy in the Christian community concerning a Gospel of Judas. It seems that this gospel, considered Gnostic, was thrown out in the old days because it was believed that Judas was an incarnation of evil and therefore couldn't write a gospel. The belief has continued through the ages to the present day. Judas is the great betrayer. Judas is Satan incarnate. Judas is the man who betrayed and "killed" Jesus.

This is where I believe the people who hold a grudge against Judas need to stop and think. The Gospel of Judas claims that Judas' betrayal of Jesus was actually against his will, and that Jesus practically "put him up to it." For some reason this idea appears to many to be inconceivable. So inconceivable that they get very, very angry.


Stop and think. Without Judas, there would have been no arrest. With no arrest, no trial. With no trial, no condemnation. With no condemnation, no sentence and crucifixion. With no death, no resurrection. Judas' betrayal of Jesus is instrumental in completing the great plan of salvation. What is the problem with this? And why should we be mad at Judas? Shouldn't we be happy? Wouldn't his involvement in the plan and the fact that he took the brunt of the blame make him a hero?

And even if Jesus didn't put him up to it, how do we know that God wasn't in one of the "harden pharoah's heart" moods when Judas sought Jesus in betrayal? No matter how you look at it, I don't think there's any basis to hold a grudge against Judas for his involvement in Jesus' death.

It isn't the fact that people don't think about these things that anger me. It's the fact that people responsible for guiding others can shrug off ideas like this one out of plain stubborness or fear. It isn't hard to admit, "that is an interesting point, and can be quite possible." Instead they continue breeding hate against a man who's actions were necessary to bring about their own eternal life. You don't have to agree with the point. Just admit the possibility. This idea is more believable than Jesus orbiting the planet as we speak, resting in a spaceship, waiting for the passage of a governmental law.

And this is only one example. :(

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Beneath The Looking Glass

I decided to post about some things that make me tick. Maybe it will help others understand me more? I don't know. We'll see how it works out. I'll start the analysis soon, and the next couple of posts will be all about what horrors haunt this web-infested cerebral cavity of mine.