War and Peace
It's always interesting when so-called people of faith express political views contrary to their religious mythology. The recent tempest created by Albuquerque City Councilor Isaac Benton’s accurate characterization of Israel’s action in Gaza as genocide and the response of Rabbi Arthur Flicker of Congregation B'nai Israel and Ronald Segel, president of Congregation Albert, demonstrated fully this chronic neurosis.
Unfortunately, they're in good company. Both houses of the new Democratic-led 111th Congress passed resolutions in support of Israel's genocide in Gaza with deliberate disregard for the facts of Israel's historic occupation there. The parallels to the occupation in Iraq are obvious. Especially as self-confessed born-again Christian George W. Bush illustrates this failure to “walk the talk” by so consistently violating not only the sixth commandment but the U.S. Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and the basic ethics and morals of decent peace-loving people everywhere.
The irony that Christians and Jews both share the same Old Testament Ten Commandments and that evangelical Christians, the followers of Jesus, the prince of peace, so often wage self-righteous war for political gain cannot pass without reasonable comment. In a pluralistic representative Democracy, everyone is always welcome at the table. However, there is no place at the table for religious hypocrisy expressed as butchery by war criminals.
After eight years of compassionate evangelical Republican conservatism in the White House, it should be no surprise that local leaders of faith suffer confusion between personal spiritual belief and historical fact and their place in America's secular democracy.
Note from the Inauguration
The citizens of Washington and of the nation are owed a deep apology. Many aspects of the inauguration were handled very badly by the police and could even be described as disgraceful. My husband, father and I arrived well before 5 a.m. in downtown Washington to try to at least catch a glimpse of history in the making. Many around us had been there much longer. We, along with thousands of others, were directed down Seventh Street by police officers. We were assured that a gate to the mall would be opened at 7 a.m. The crowd grew progressively larger and tighter for more than four hours without any word as to what was the cause of the delay. The most disgraceful aspect of the morning was the presence of more than a dozen uniformed police officers and military personnel on the second floor of the office building overlooking the corner of Seventh and D Streets. This was the only visible police presence in the area. These uniformed officers overlooked the crowd while drinking coffee, leaning pastry boxes against the window and taking pictures of those who were obviously suffering in the cold. One officer leaned forward in the window and made “yummy” motions while eating his soup. It was only through the rumors of the crowd that we eventually learned that we would not be granted access at all.
This is not simply sour grapes over a long line. It is rather a cry against the complete lack of information and assistance that was given to those of us who had followed the advice of the proper authorities. It is disturbing to me that on this day, that should have only been filled with joy, so many were treated so poorly.
The Don on New Presidents
After centuries of the horrors of slavery, segregation and pervasive racism, Obama as U.S. president gives new hope and pride to African-Americans much as President Mandela did for Blacks in South Africa.
Obama's both Black and white ancestry especially helps him to be a racial bridge in this nation. When he was born, his parents' romantic union was still illegal in 16 states.
“Should I as a gay man celebrate if an openly gay man became head of the Mafia?”
If only the U.S. presidency had nothing to do with greed, corporations, war and empire, I could cheer Obama's being elected to this nation's highest office. Should I as a gay man celebrate if an openly gay man became head of the Mafia? U.S. presidents murder far more people than the Mafia bosses murder! To an Afghan mother whose child is killed by U.S. soldiers, does it lessen her agony if the U.S. commander-in-chief responsible for her child's murder is half Black instead of all white?
In the long and grueling months of campaigning, did Obama ever ponder how his hands would be stained with the blood of thousands abroad if he achieved his goal?
I voted for no one for president or for Congress. I oppose all war! I refuse to authorize any candidates who support war to wage war in my name.
Missing the Mark
[Re: Feature, “The Land of Disenchantment,” Jan. 22-28] All politics are local. Every politician comes from the local political scene. The reason New Mexico is one of the—if not the most—corrupt states is because the local politics are extremely corrupt, and there's no way to deal with it. When I ran into extreme local corruption, I found there was no way to handle it. I was told to contact the police. Uhhh ... corrupt. Bring it to the local DA. Uhhh ... corrupt. And we're not talking about necessarily "bad" people. The problem is small-town corruption. And it appears to be "accepted." So, by the time a politican makes it to the state or national level, corruption is "standard operating procedure." Take care of your hometown corruption, and the rest will weed itself out.
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