Friday, September 4, 2009

The National Insanity: Healing our Brokenness

I’ve said before generally this won't be a political blog. But this has been gnawing on me for a time and I need to get it out.

Where did reason go? Have we slipped into some nightmarish world were visions and illusions have replaced facts? What in the hell are we doing to each other?

Everywhere I turn, more examples of this psychosis we seem to have entered. People attending rallies near where the president is, wearing full assault rifles over their shoulders? Just four years ago, two people were arrested because they had the other party’s candidate on their t-shirt, but now carrying armed weapons to a rally is free speech?

Yesterday I heard of a group demonstrating on behalf of health care reform. Across the way there are anti reform protestors. So according to TPM, the anti reform guy walks across the street to confront the pro reform people. He uses intimidation and pushes a woman back. He is 65, but tall and muscular. He then approaches some guy smaller than him, but the guy refuses to move back. The antireform bully hauls off and throws a punch sending the man to the street. The guy gets up and the anti reform person is all over him. Fighting back, the reform guy bites the bully’s finger off. So this man, this bully, this fellow who believes the government should stay out of health care, goes to the hospital where he is treated. He pays for it with medicare!

Seriously have we gone nuts? Talk-show hosts, news commentators, politicians, everyone seems to have lost total touch with reality. Birthers running around insisting Obama is not a citizen, never mind what his birth certificate says. Cries of fascism and communism, sometimes in the same sentence.

Oh the racism. I have not seen such racism since the sixties. Preachers praying for the death of our president, politicians proclaiming he is destroying our country. Four years ago, we heard Republicans saying anyone who disagreed with them were aiding and abetting the terrorists. Now they are labeling the president of the United States a terrorist? Some fools are calling for secession and the rhetoric is being ramped up more and more by the day. Republican leaders decry the racism against the poor white man. WTF?

Just this very morning, a huge controversy because the President of the United States of America is going to address school children alongside Sasha and Malia about the importance of working hard for their educations, and for their parents to be involved. Yet whole school districts are not going to let it happen, because they don’t want their children being indoctrinated? I repeat. WTF?

Probably saddest of all is that there is no longer reasonable discourse. Honest differences of opinion have been drowned out by the clamor of insane ranting of angry mobs. If it continues unabated, some fool is going to target this president. That seems to be what they want. What else could lead people to such incendiary hate-speak? History is full of instances where leaders were demonized and later assassinated. This must not happen here.

I’m not talking about meeting violence with violence. But it is time for those not totally devoid of their faculties to confront the haters, stand strong against their hate offering calm discourse as a replacement. We need to overwhelmingly tell cable television operators we can no longer stand by and let them continue to fan the flames. Commentary by Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck need not be debated daily on the television news shows. Would it not make more sense for experts in the relative fields to debate actual language in bills and real issues for Americans rather than persisting with extremists on both sides making arguments out of feeling rather than fact?

See if we do not change what we're doing, our democracy is in great peril. A democratic republic demands reasoned debate as opposed to just choosing sides. Compromise was always our strength. Presuming something did happen to our president, could you imagine the anger that would arise out of that? No, we need to confront the hate now, and quickly. Much of the disruption ultimately comes from profit motives, whether insurance companies trying to protect their obscene profits, or television networks trying to keep viewers watching by turning our country into battle for the absurd. One commentator the other night nailed it. Kent Jones on Rachel Maddow likened our politics to the old Jerry Springer show. He made a good point and that’s got to end.

So what can be done to bring us back from the brink of insanity? Writing letters to networks is a good start. Letting members of Congress know it is time to tone down the rhetoric if indeed they are promoting lies, which of course first means an honest effort to find the facts first. We should hold corporations accountable, and push for campaign finance reform that takes the power out of their hands. But also, becoming the change we wish to see in others. There is our most powerful testimony. When we become what we desire, our voice is magnified a thousand fold. There is a group I’m signed up with and have taken the pledge. Check it out and consider their approach. Imagine a movement in this country to simply Stand on the Side of Love. Their pledge goes like this:

“I pledge to defend the worth and dignity of every person. I embrace and support communities that are marginalized, such as immigrants, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, or religious minorities. No person should be excluded, oppressed, or violated because of who they are. I will harness the power of love to stop oppression. I pledge to stand, speak, pray, march and live on the side of the love.”

Imagine a world where we actually listened to each other and learned from each other. I would add to that group in the pledge others, like socialists and birthers and liberals and conservatives and the list goes on. Every single one of us came into this world with nothing and will leave the same way. We have that same grace we call our common humanity. Yes we have differences, but those differences should be debated using facts and experiences, not just made up propaganda. Those differences should be centered in respect, and yes love. Everyone has something to offer. Difference between reasonable people can be bridged through compromise.

Check out the website at

Take the pledge, adding whatever groups or categories you think fits, especially the ones most repugnant to you. For me as an example, belligerent angry right wingers would have to be in the list. I'm sure for those people I would be right near the top. Take the pledge. Then live by the pledge, let it guide your actions. Together let’s heal our broken nation, and stand firmly on the side of love. Together as a broken people, let's begin to heal.

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