Bumper sticker of the week: The future isn't what it used to be.--Yogi Berra
Quote of the week: ''The stock market crash of October 24, 1929, Black Thursday, wafted down into the deep south like a slow-working disease.... You could feed your family catfish and jack salmon, poke salad and possum, but medicine took cash money, and the poorest of the poor, blacks and whites, did not have it. Women, black and white, really did smother their babies to save them from slow death, to give a stronger, sounder child a little more, and stories of it swirled around and around until it became a myth, because who can live with that much truth.
People did go hungry. Meanwhile, on the lawn at the White House, President Hoover was photographed feeding his dog.'' Ava 's Man, Rick Bragg
The Corporate Bailout: Companies are lining up by the dozens with their hands extended out in a gesture of patriotic begging unlike any seen before in our history. They all want a piece of the action, compliments of us, the taxpayers. The airline industry is first in line, despite their incompetence and growing debt prior to September 11. They are followed by the restaurant industry, the hotel industry, package delivering industry, insurance industry, cab industry. The list goes on and on. The only group not begging is the flag industry. Anyway, I'm just sending them my money directly from my debit card. I'm cutting out the middle man. I don't want any of the CEO's and board directors of these fine, upstanding companies to have to downsize their lifestyles on account of a little war. Besides, they're probably all busy glad-handing their way down the halls of congress, swearing life would never be the same without their companies. Yea.
What does it mean to be a pacifist in time of war? About the same as it means to be a general in time of peace. It's difficult. I studied pacifism and non-violence in 1971-72 at Bethany Theological Seminary with Dale Brown, an internationally known pacifist and non-violent scholar. He taught me most of what I know, which is pathetically little. For 31 years I have tried to maintain my non-violent position, with mixed results. So far, at least, I haven't killed anyone, although the other day, it was tempting. During the Vietnam War, I was a conscientious objector, probably one of the only ever given out by my local draft board. During my primary run for the State House, I was the only one out of five candidates to oppose the death penalty. It's usually not a very popular position, especially in times like these. What do you do when violence is used against you? How do you maintain a non-violent position? When evil confronts you, are you going to just stand there and take it? Are you a coward or what? Like most things nowadays, there are no easy or simple answers. I have always felt like we, I, have a touch of the divine in us, thus are created in His image. I believe both good and evil reside in us. This is the essence of life, the living duality that expresses itself in everything (good-evil, right-left, day-night, sunrise-sunset, winter-summer). Within this continuing tension, we struggle to make sense of it all. We are called to make the best of this blooming confusion. In myself, I continually battle the Osama bid Laden. Some days go better than others, but I usually end up at night confident in the basic goodness of people. By ending a life. I risk breaking the divine chain that links me to God. I am unwilling to take that chance.
We baby boomers are a sorry lot. About the only other group of less competent people to have ever appeared on Earth were the Neanderthals, whom nature neatly took care of. Unfortunately, we continue to lumber on. The 60's and 70's were so neat. We ended a war, threw Nixon out of office, listened to some of the best music ever, and swore we would never become part of the problem. Oh brother! Boomers drive SUV's that get 10 miles to the gallon, call everything ''cool,'' work for corporations that cheat the poor and destroy the Earth, cry about growing old and, God forbid, dying. We spend money to become ''enlightened'' for no apparent good reason, other than to make the ''gurus'' rich, wave the flag around like it's Christ's shroud, tell our kids to not trust anyone, and have replaced watching bad TV for reading something that might be meaningful. It once seemed so right. Now it all seems so inevitable.
All things being equal, which they most usually never are, I am considering running for the city council. I figure I possess some of the main criteria:
1. I'm breathing.
2. My intelligence is measurable.
3. I knew the mayor before he became coopted into the status quo. I haven't quite decided. I'm waiting for a sign, like a burning barrel.
Today's hiring and firing practices deserve tomorrow's unions.