Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Is it really a blessing to have everything we want?



A few months ago I was walking through New York City with some 20-somethings and they saw a Nintendo Store so we had to go inside.  *eye roll*

They scattered throughout the store chasing Japanese-sounding nonsense names of things I have no knowledge of.  So I grabbed a seat by the door and just people-watched.

I saw a young lady (about 20 years old) with green hair tied in pigtails waiting for some friends.  She was dressed in a costume of some sort and carried a purple backpack.  She looked a bit . . . medicated perhaps?  I don't know.  She definitely looked like she wasn't sure where she was (or who she was, or if she was even there at all).  Disturbing.  When her two friends came over (similarly dressed like digital characters), all three of them slowly made their way to the door in the strangest manner I have seen a group of young ladies move.

And I am not sure they were all ladies, but that is beside the point.

As I looked through the store I saw more young adults that seemed to have everything they would want or need but just look so . . . lost.  I wondered to myself if this is what previous generations had in mind when they thought of prosperity, security and peace.

Fast forward: one month later I stood on Omaha Beach in France.

The largest invasion in history happened on this and a handful of other beaches in Normandy.  Tens of thousands of young men were gunned down in their pursuit of the beach and the defeat of Nazism.  Back home, hundreds of thousands of young men and women joined a war effort that helped us out-produce the world in ships and tanks and jeeps and aircraft.  All of them heroes.  All of them in their early 20's.

As I stood in the water of that beach, I wondered if we could do it again.

In a few weeks, the movie Dunkirk will come out.  I am really excited to see it but I am also nervous that I will see a very different time and culture.  I worry that we live in a time that is so focused on the self that we couldn't rise to the miracle of a Dunkirk or a Normandy.  I worry that we are so prosperous that we don't know what it means to sacrifice for the greater good.  I worry that we might be really good at Pokemon but not so good at defeating real evil.

I worry because we have a president that tweets out insults and the rest of us destroy each other because we have different ideas on religion, politics and life.  Ultra liberals are so smug and ultra conservatives are so obnoxious.  The rest of us are somewhere in between the great divide.  It wasn't always like that.  It used to be that we could disagree and still be friends.  Now we draw lines.  We have the greatest tools of connection at our fingertips and we have never been more fractured.

I worry because our entertainment nightly involves watching people shoot each other.  Then we wonder why people are shooting each other in our cities.  I worry because we have songs that glorify drug abuse and using each other and we wonder why our lives are so empty and our young people don't know what to live for.

We were best when our backs were against a wall.  Is it really a blessing to have everything we want?  Or is the blessing to have our character revealed when we have lost everything we had?

I don't want to lose anything . . . but I don't want to continue limping along here in Babylon - where we have everything we want and all the misery that comes with it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Before you get all indignant about Russian involvement . . .



So everyone is talking about how we finally have proof that Russia hacked our elections because of Trump Jr's emails.

Quick disclaimer:  I voted for the guy from Utah whose name I still can't remember - so this is not about politics and all about perspective . . .  

Ladies and gentlemen - foreign nations have been influencing the outcome of elections for hundreds of years.  

Illegal?  Yes.  
Does anyone care?  No.

For example:
In 2014 Obama intervened in Afghani elections when his guy Dr. Abdullah didn't win.  Instead of accepting the result, the Obama administration created the unconstitutional "Office Of the Chief Executive Officer." Both candidates Abdullah and Ghani were livid.  Big brother stepped in and forced their guy to win.
Illegal.

In 2009 Bush oversaw the (ahem) hotly contested election of Hamid Karzai.
Unscrupulous.

In the 90's the Clinton administration was guilty of 'influencing' the election outcomes of Haiti and Honduras.  A claim that they don't deny.
Illegal.

The 1980's - Reagan - 'nuff said.

In the 70's Nixon worked with Vietnam to influence his own narrow victory over Hubert Humphrey (yes, this was while we were at war - unbelievable.)
Illegal and Unscrupulous.

In the 1960's The Kennedy administration brutally murdered Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba in an acid attack because they thought he was a Soviet sympathizer.
Horrific.

Guatemala in 1954.  Iran in 1953.  Winston Churchill colluded with FDR in 1940 to control information to influence his reelection.  Throughout the cold war, Russia mailed fake letters from KKK, started rumors discrediting MLK and began a campaign in the 80's that claimed AIDS was a virus created by the US government to subjugate its citizens.
Just plain weird.

In 2015 Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke to a joint session of Congress that was broadcast to the public about how bad the Iranian Nuclear Deal was.  Talk about foreign influence.  
Honestly - no one even noticed.

So now we are supposed to care that a foreign country showed us the illegal activity of one of our candidates?  Voting booths weren't hacked.  Elections were not tampered with.  It was the release of emails.  

How can we be appalled when it has been our modus operandi for so long?
What's good for the goose . . . n'est-ce pas?


You can access more information on this and other 'collusions' - here and here.