"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Friday, November 11, 2005

revise this!

I'm trying to enjoy my paid holiday today with at least some mindfulness of why it's a holiday. I noticed that the president was giving a speech on the TVs at the gym (mercifully without sound) so I later looked up the text of his speech. Since he didn't write it anyway, why suffer through watching and listening to him deliver it?

The brief discourse on Muslim doctrine against taking human life was good, but it's always tricky to know how to apply those scriptural prohibitions on killing. Moses and Mohammed were perhaps a bit rushed in their taking of the dictation because God must have told them something more about the exceptions to the rule that you and I of the general populace don't really grasp. Otherwise, so many "men of prayer" who have weapons at their command would behave much differently.

The speech also reached brilliant new heights of logical fallacy with the comment that we weren't in Iraq on 9/11, therefore our being in Iraq now isn't a contributing factor to ongoing terrorism by Muslim extremists. I think he meant that those extremists will find any excuse to blow people up, it doesn't make any difference what Islamic nation(s) we occupy. Sort of like saying that the fire was already burning good 'n hot before we came by and tossed on another log or two, maybe some gasoline and a few old tires for good measure. I'm confused about how terrorism clearly thrived without us invading Iraq, yet now Iraq is THE front in our war on terrorism. I surely don't want to be irresponsible in my rewriting of history but I'm not sure which version of history I'm not supposed to revise. I think this is precisely the effect that was intended. Bravo, speechwriters.

I almost feel like it's less and less worth the effort to rant about this guy (the president, I mean). Slightly more than half of the polled citizenry now believe that he's full of shit. History is going through a big rewrite all over the place in the minds of the formerly duped. I learned in years of English classes that revision is good, but then I went to public school way before No Child Left Behind so I probably was allowed to spend too much time lazily entertaining ideas and reading subversive literature rather than drilling for standardized tests.

But, back to what I was going to say before I began to exercise my wonderful freedom to criticize. I have been reading stories of soldiers returned from Iraq. Even if, for the sake of argument, our leaders were honest with us and fighting there was actually something that would lead to less terrorism around the world, I don't understand how the people in charge worked out the math. We have a running death toll (at least of American soldiers) but it's much harder to pin down the numbers of wounded bodies and minds and families. I just want a leader with a little more empathy, who is capable of understanding suffering. We have such big brains, surely we could figure out a way to make the world safer and happier without wreaking devastation on so many men and women and families.

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