Date: July 04, 2014
Happy Fourth of July, to all who observe it!
…I happened upon a fascinating episode of On Being, dealing with the United States early history…the founding fathers…separation of church and state…and more…
…Thought I’d share it with you…
I love the no nonsense talk about our religious roots…Yes it was there…Yes, it was intentional…But at the same time, it was extremely messy and sometimes outright nasty…cruel and inhumane, even. Eventually, leaders rejected formal national religion…and took a new path.
No…as an atheist, I cannot deny religious roots in the U.S….And atheists would be foolish, to deny it…Thing is, this country eventually wizened up and decided people should be free to follow their own spiritual path…be it religious or not.
…We should be grateful for that…This is what we should celebrate, and champion as atheists…
…This nation rose above it’s past, in that regard…It had enough collective sense to evolve…Hallelujah!
That is one of the best features of this country…because it can leave everybody with hope and possibilities.
Contrary to what some may wish us to believe…the United States religious history, was not a totally wonderful love story…substantially far from it, in fact.
It is refreshing to hear people give a level headed discussion, of this nations past.
As a nation…we all need to stop lamenting on “what the founding fathers intended [for us]”…
…Though I thank each of them for what they did…reality is…they are long dead now…As such, they no longer make decisions effecting the lives of people like you or I.
It doesn’t matter whether George Washington believed in god…whether he thought churches should rule over us…whether he snorted cocaine…or whether he would have liked Twinkies over Ding Dongs, given the chance to taste and decide.
…Even great dead men, don’t have the authority to make decisions for the living.
We have moved beyond, whatever it is they might have envisioned…And maybe it is time, that we all started dealing with that reality?…and the strengths and weaknesses of that reality?
Date: May 26, 2014
In my mind, probably the most somber U.S. national holiday in existence is Memorial Day…
This is, of course…a national day in memory of all soldiers who have lost their lives, in service to this country.
It is hard to really reconcile a lot of things in this complicated world…I consider war to be a crime against humanity, and yet…life is not so simple, as to be able to imply that the people sent off to these wars, “deserved their fate”.
…In fact…our fallen soldiers…all fallen soldiers, with few exceptions…are every bit as much victims of this crime against humanity…as anybody else impacted by it.
I wish the solution to this crime against humanity, were as simple as everyone refusing to take part in it…The ambitions of some, have refused to allow this…because so long as there are violent aggressors in this world…there must be credible, substantive force to defy them…to stop them, from destroying order in this world…to stop them from brutalizing and murdering the defenseless and the weak.
Soldiers come in many different styles…Of all I have had the privilege to serve with, a miniscule few have I even suspected to be serving for reasons of malicious and vulgar blood lust…Overwhelmingly, I have found that soldiers serve for all the right, upstanding and ethical reasons…and that most of them never want to take another humans life.
For some, it is easy to set out there…with idealistic viewpoints…point fingers and throw rocks at soldiers…It is easy to act, as though “they deserved it”…It is easy to ignore everything going on in this world, and say the soldier “just should not have been there”…that they “should have defied the government”…that they “got what they deserved”, when coming back dead or crippled…Some have even suggest, that allowing yourself to be sent off to war is…”cowardly”, in comparison to serving time in prison, or deserting and living as a criminal fugitive.
…As soldiers…when we take an oath of service, it is not only our bond…but what we do when faced with the moment of truth, is what defines our true integrity and character…
…There is no act committed on this planet, which displays more pure, raw bravery…than to walk into a theater of chaos, where you know your own death is looming in high probability. Facing your fate when you know these are the stakes…when you know, you are not that good with a rifle…when you feel you are entirely out of place…when you just know, that in the middle of this chaos, you are likely to end up amongst the dead…there is nothing more sobering…than facing this type of a pending death sentence.
People who lay their lives on the line in defense of others, deserve nothing but the utmost of respect. Their personal flaws fall by the wayside…and it makes me personally ill, to witness anybody disparage these people, or belittle them as human beings…or even devalue the numerous sacrifices they have made…
The people who speak in dogmatic, idealistic terms about this issue…virtually none of them have ever had to walk this path. If they ever had…they would not even consider behaving in the way that they do…because they would know what it is like, to live the many realities of a soldiers life…
We face a lot of really horrible things in this world…and while on some level, many of them don’t seem to make any sense…they are still the realities we find ourselves thrust into, even when we want nothing to do with them.
Soldiers are people forced to make the hardest choices imaginable…with the steepest consequences imaginable…this is a very harsh road, which deserves empathy and respect towards those traveling it.
…And the fact that we no longer have the draft in the U.S., is no excuse to attack U.S. soldiers…The draft was done away with, for many sound reasons…One major reason, is that it raised the over all standard of quality, in soldiers being brought in. The draft was fraught with problems, including the infamous issues of Vietnam…where in, the war became a trade off for prison, in the case of many violent, even mentally ill criminals [some of whom were sociopaths]…We will never even know, how many of our own were sent off to be slaughtered by our own soldiers, who never even had a chance because someone who rightly belonged in a prison cell was “dumped into a fox hole” with them.
No…the U.S. soldier has been spat upon for far too long, and from far too many corners, by ignorant people…when the individual who is that soldier, is just trying to make the right decision in an impossible situation.
Nobody has standing, to judge these individuals for their service…Nobody at all, anywhere…and those with arrogant chips on their shoulders, who fancy themselves right to throw stones…they should hope, and pray to anything they are inclined to pray too…that they are never forced to face this brutal choice, themselves…
Many people lack the courage and strength of character, to face this with integrity and dignity…Those who do face this, never come out of this experience the same…if at all.
This demands respect…especially for those who lost everything.
Date: December 12, 2013
One of the people who I consciously chose for my “famous people quotes” blog header series, is Nelson Mandela. I actually chose him and started preparation on a header several months ago…After learning of his death, I finally decided on a quote and completed it.
It was meant for January…but in light of his recent death, I am releasing that header today…If you refresh this blog enough times…presumably, you will eventually see it…I’ll just let it continue into January, where I may even add another one [from Nelson].
Nelson had many, many, many great quotes attributed to him…and it was honestly difficult, to decide on which ones to keep and which ones to not use…So, I’ve actually created like…six or seven of them [far more, than I intended on providing for any one person]…I may, or may not, use every single one of them…I don’t know.
This act is a simple payment of respects, for a man who was honestly a giant…The world is poorer in his loss.
Note: The “famous person quotes” blog header series was started by me to highlight and share with the world, those people, characters and words of wisdom which I hold in esteem for their high quality of character and insight. These people, characters and quotes express something, which I find a personal kinship with.