Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Unspoken Message of Hate from 2011 State of the Union

by Rev. Gregory Lowrey

If you missed President Obama's State of the Union Address last night, you can watch it in full HERE.

As usual, there was a lot of back patting, generality and hope for a brighter future through legislation.

There was also recognition that our best innovative practices are the products of visionary individuals in the private sector who do not wait for government to solve personal, local or world-wide problems.

There was another message though that stood out to me more than anything else and it was shouted out without words and that was a message of intolerance and hate - two principles that are both socially destructive and overtly anti-American.

When President Obama proposed rights of the children of illegal immigrants, who by law (correct me if I'm wrong, please) are granted citizenship by being born on United States soil, decrying the deportation of bright minds after the investment of American Education and the failure to retain other foreign students after educating them here, suggesting America should no longer reject (via bureaucracy, bigotry or other means) persons who could more fully realize their own potential and further the mission of freedom worldwide, very many Congressmen failed to applaud his suggestion.

Likewise, when the President applauded the decision by the Military to cease to discriminate against soldiers who volunteer to very literally place their lives on the line to support the American agenda (however proper or improper that may at times be) because of "who they love" there was an overwhelming lack of positive support shown for the principles of fairness and non-discrimination by Congressmen who are entrusted to protect just those inalienable rights.

And when President Obama actually called on Americans to stand for the equal rights of Muslim Americans, there were many, many Congressmen who refused to stand and show allegiance to the 1st Amendment protections of our Constitution and a foundational principle of Democracy.

Finally, when the President's address was over, two Republican responses were made attacking the president rather than vowing support for and creative involvement in the processes that will achieve his broadly stated but very worthy goals for America. 

These "Representatives" do NOT represent America, nor do they represent the people who elected them.  They very obviously DO represent "special interests" that do not favor equality, fairness, liberty or justice.

These Congressmen who would not stand for America were easy to spot.  They were the ones who remained sitting on their anti-American asses when the President called for all to stand for freedom and equality.  They are the ones who will inflame the insanely huge number of weak minded people here and around the world with their fear-mongering and bigotry.

These men and women who are charged to protect American Values, but who would not stand to count themselves among the lovers of Liberty and Equality are Frauds who along with others like them, must be removed from all levels of government.

One other comment I would like to make regarding the President's address is that we cannot achieve cultural integration while promoting elitist competition.  We should be seeking to work cooperatively with the people of other nations and refuse to make any type of concession that puts human rights behind business.

The principles of fairness and equality that America stands for (and by America I mean the U.S.A.) demand that we "play by the same rules" and refuse to put technology, goods and services into the hands of those who would use it to violate the human rights we have sworn to uphold.

I also would like to reiterate my position that peace achieved through the institution of fear is not peace at all and while despots and bullies of any stature should not be tolerated, their victims should be liberated, not punished for the actions of their victimizers.

I hope that we can move forward to achieve the many worthy goals outlined by President Obama and that we can provide honestly and fairly for the needs of all Americans and the world and remember the true maxim that United We Stand - Divided We Fall.

Partisanship is a a very real evil that only seeks to perpetuate itself and cares little for the destruction it leaves in it's path of self-indulgence.  Our world cannot afford to accommodate this evil.

While there are many instances of poor thinking on the part of Democrats, the actions of the Republican Cartel these last two years especially (and the Bush years equally) are low, mean and a disgusting, repugnant smear on all things American.   I am ashamed of those who vote for bigotry, especially those who promote it as a value of any religion.

Let's hope that the world can reverse the destructive results of generations of uncaring greed and short-sighted self-interest.  Let's pay attention to President Obama's unmentioned (perhaps unintended) point that it is the actions of INDIVIDUAL people who care enough to stand for correct principles that makes the difference and that Liberty and Prosperity come from people - not from Government.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Murder, Murder Everywhere

by Rev. Gregory Lowrey

While we perhaps consider the truism that not guns, but people, kill, we might also realize that a love of murder has permeated our entire world culture, setting the stage for all kinds of socially destructive behaviors.
Our fears, managed and massaged by public relations specialists in media, government, service and social organizations, even churches, are used to manipulate us for the benefit of some or other special interest.  These "special interests" do not hold your interests to have value.
I appreciated Mr. Herbert's editorial and wanted to share it here for your consideration.

January 10, 2011
A Flood Tide of Murder
By BOB HERBERT  New York Times

By all means, condemn the hateful rhetoric that has poured so much poison into our political discourse. The crazies don’t kill in a vacuum, and the vilest of our political leaders and commentators deserve to be called to account for their demagoguery and the danger that comes with it. But that’s the easy part.

If we want to reverse the flood tide of killing in this country, we’ll have to do a hell of a lot more than bad-mouth a few sorry politicians and lame-brained talking heads. We need to face up to the fact that this is an insanely violent society. The vitriol that has become an integral part of our political rhetoric, most egregiously from the right, is just one of the myriad contributing factors in a society saturated in blood.

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, more than a million people have been killed with guns in the United States since 1968, when Robert Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were killed. That figure includes suicides and accidental deaths. But homicides, deliberate killings, are a perennial scourge, and not just with guns.

Excluding the people killed in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, more than 150,000 Americans have been murdered since the beginning of the 21st century. This endlessly proliferating parade of death, which does not spare women or children, ought to make our knees go weak. But we never even notice most of the killings. Homicide is white noise in this society.

The overwhelming majority of the people who claim to be so outraged by last weekend’s shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others — six of them fatally — will take absolutely no steps, none whatsoever, to prevent a similar tragedy in the future. And similar tragedies are coming as surely as the sun makes its daily appearance over the eastern horizon because this is an American ritual: the mowing down of the innocents.

On Saturday, the victims happened to be a respected congresswoman, a 9-year-old girl, a federal judge and a number of others gathered at the kind of civic event that is supposed to define a successful democracy. But there are endless horror stories. In April 2007, 32 students and faculty members at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute were shot to death and 17 others were wounded by a student armed with a pair of semiautomatic weapons.

On a cold, rainy afternoon in Pittsburgh in 2009, I came upon a gray-haired woman shivering on a stone step in a residential neighborhood. “I’m the grandmother of the kid that killed those cops,” she whispered. Three police officers had been shot and killed by her 22-year-old grandson, who was armed with a variety of weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle.

I remember having lunch with Marian Wright Edelman, the president of the Children’s Defense Fund, a few days after the Virginia Tech tragedy. She shook her head at the senseless loss of so many students and teachers, then told me: “We’re losing eight children and teenagers a day to gun violence. As far as young people are concerned, we lose the equivalent of the massacre at Virginia Tech about every four days.”

If we were serious, if we really wanted to cut down on the killings, we’d have to do two things. We’d have to radically restrict the availability of guns while at the same time beginning the very hard work of trying to change a culture that glorifies and embraces violence as entertainment, and views violence as an appropriate and effective response to the things that bother us.

Ordinary citizens interested in a more sane and civilized society would have to insist that their elected representatives take meaningful steps to stem the violence. And they would have to demand, as well, that the government bring an end to the wars overseas, with their terrible human toll, because the wars are part of the same crippling pathology.

Without those very tough steps, the murder of the innocents by the tens of thousands will most assuredly continue.

I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Gabrielle Giffords story is big for the time being, but so were Columbine and Oklahoma City. And so was the anti-white killing spree of John Muhammad and Lee Malvo that took 10 lives in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., in October 2002. But no amount of killing has prompted any real remedial action.

For whatever reasons, neither the public nor the politicians seem to really care how many Americans are murdered — unless it’s in a terror attack by foreigners. The two most common responses to violence in the U.S. are to ignore it or be entertained by it. The horror prompted by the attack in Tucson on Saturday will pass. The outrage will fade. The murders will continue.