Things to Think About

No time to blog so, instead, just a few reminders of comments past and references to things you might find interesting:

Such as this:
1. Occupation Wall Street. It’s about time but you have to wonder where these people were in November, 2010. If you decide that voting is not worth the effort, your complaints about politicians truly fall on deaf ears. (If, by the way, you think Ron Paul makes sense, or that substituting a flat (or 9-9-9) tax for the progressive income tax is a good idea, you are just a dupe of the people against whom you are supposedly protesting.)
We have, on these pages wondered where you were and discussed how the recipe for change is clear but not something that can fit on a banner (see below for the closest facsimile thereof), but two years after it was first posted here there is now evidence that big trouble could be ahead:
Nothing less than our very system of government is at stake. We are watching the spectacle of a Congress beholden to the contributors who make possible their continued hold on office unable to respond to the call of a vast majority to reform health care, to protect our posterity from the doomsday path on which we have placed our nation and to regulate wizards of finance whose obsession with their self-interest have put the financial security and well being of the rest of us in permanent jeopardy. This is a recipe for disaster all by itself and placed side by side with the fact that we are no longer able to have civilized discourse over opposing views, the future looks bleak indeed….
This is playing with fire, folks. An unresponsive government acting on behalf of its benefactors instead of the people who vote cannot last long. It can last while people are sleeping—which they are—or while they are obsessed by cable driven foolishness about a helium balloon)—which they are, but then something happens and people wake up, though sometimes not for very long. This is playing with fire, folks. An unresponsive government acting on behalf of its benefactors instead of the people who vote cannot last long. It can last while people are sleeping—which they are—or while they are obsessed by cable driven foolishness about a helium balloon)—which they are, but then something happens and people wake up, though sometimes not for very long.

2. Rigged Elections. After a similar period of radio silence, your faithful blogger returned in August 2009 witha rant about how the electoral system is so broken by the way campaigns are financed that nothing is more important, and seems unlikely to be fixed. Lawrence Lessig’s plan, as discussed on Rachel Maddow and in a book he has written presents a lovely pipe dream, but since members of a constitutional convention would be elected in the same way that we have destroyed Congress, it seems unlikely this presents the answer.

His other idea, though, to give voters enough money to compete with special interests might have merit. Something has to give folks or we are sunk: Watch this from Rachel and see what they have in store for the rest of us.
3. Values. Maybe they are right after all. This while thing is a struggle for whose values should shape the country. When you look at it that way, and you know your own values and cannot understand theirs, the impossibility of reconciling these two views becomes very clear.
It was hard for a Jew to not have some of those thoughts while listening to the rituals of our High Holy Days (and observing that the “Values Voters summit” was held in Washington on Yom Kippur, effectively excluding Jews whose “values” might be different.

Still, it is hard to hear the traditional prayers of the season without seeing the disconnect between the two sides of political thought as almost a religious war. Some of us are New Dealers at heart; others see themselves as rugged individualists, in need of no government in their quest for fortune.

And then, we say this:

We pray that all creation will take up Your promise of justice and tolerance….

We shall not hate others; we shall love our neighbors as ourselves. We shall consider the strangers among us as our own…

Teach us more and more to respond to the pain of others, to heed Your call for justice…

In the days to come, we will turn outward and take care of the world around us. We will turn toward each other and foster peace within the human family. We will turn inward and seek wholeness within our souls…

If this is a clash of religious philosophies, hearing an opposing view will be very interesting. It is hard to imagine that people who claim to represent religious thought, believe that a mission to impose one’s sense of morality trumps any sense of connection with the rest of humanity.

But prayer works best as a reminder of higher callings. ;It cannot be an end to itself. “No one’s laughing at God when they’re starving or freezing or so very poor” as Regina Spektor puts it, but prayer alone feeds nobody or makes them warm.

Neither does marching.

But both can help to focus the mind.

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