Archive for April, 2013

Jesus and the City of New York

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

The nation watched enthralled as the government unleashed its trillion-dollar war machine against a nineteen-year-old bomber in Boston. Unsurprisingly, the government caught him – before, we were told, he managed to escape Boston and attack New York City. The mayor of New York was unruffled, boasting his city’s electronic surveillance net – an ‘eyes-everywhere’ system that can detect a single handbag sitting on a park bench for ‘too long.’

Jeering at ‘special interests’ defending constitutional liberties, the mayor advertised his techno-weaponry to other cities. It seems his own police department gets a thirty percent cut of every sale, for helping ‘develop’ the technology. If you are in New York City, right now, the police are watching you, right now. They have not always, themselves, been entirely virtuous. They see what you are doing. Perhaps they would like a thirty percent cut of that, too.

Jesus Christ visited the planet under similar circumstances. The Jewish tribes had been scrabbling about, awaiting prophetic fulfillment, for centuries – plotting and raising ‘armies;’ praying for the day. But the world had changed, and the Lord himself turned out to be a lover not a fighter. Jesus’ message was simple: love your neighbor or die ugly.

The old rules are broken. The old weapons don’t work any more. If you want to live, be blameless.

 

Come to the country

Friday, April 19th, 2013

In my quest to discover how wrong I am about US politics, I’ve stumbled across the ‘immigration issue.’ If, as I think, we live in a culturally de-fused, monolithically administered technocracy, then there should be no ‘issue.’ The US needs more immigrants – lots more immigrants – now.  The apparatchiks know full well: both the size of their economic machine, and the velocity of money within it, must increase to offset those over-ballyhooed multiple ‘deficits’ which threaten every morning. Boosting the population of low-wage workers is absolutely the best way to accomplish this.

And yet, I have learned, there is opposition. It seems, after all, the ‘man on the street’ matters, and he doesn’t like strangers. I pause, trying to recollect. I have some memory of bigotry. I grew up in a divided town where the white kids didn’t like the ‘Mexicans.’ I observed some ugly skirmishes and pervasive general nastiness, and I learned a few things. People feel better about their own kind. Outsiders just stir up trouble. And there were these dirty little contradictions, like maybe you needed ‘them’ to pick your strawberries, but wouldn’t trust your daughter around one for a second (thank God, she knew to stay away from their kind on her own).

You know, it’s hard to make your way in a world where you’re despised for just being alive. The good white people take advantage of you. They get to kick you around. You keep your job if you keep your head down, and learn to take it. This is a million true American tales. I’m surprised it doesn’t show up in the news.

But the bigots are the real political story. They march up and down the border, keeping the outsiders out. For some reason, they’re better voters. Or maybe their votes just count for more. For some reason, sense, sensibility, and the entire United States government collapse at the dinner tables of these parochial xenophobes, and we all have to acknowledge, well, yes, some of us really are – under the law – just better than others.

I want to believe individuals still matter. It feels odd to see how they do, in this instance; how millions of individuals whose hate stands at odds to all economic and political sense yet – stands. I hope to live to be so stalwart – for good.

Resurrection

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

I’ve begun asking thoughtful people what they think about America. The answers are uniformly similar.  Always, in fact, the same. There is little voiced hope for political action on any issue. Or, if there is hope, it’s many years away. Far enough it’ll be useless toward coping with those monumental threats typically mentioned in the same conversation. Universally, this is what I am told: the United States is unable to act, and our challenges demand immediate action.

I’ve been asking because, frankly, I’ve been looking for a ‘That’ to say ‘This’ about. The day-to-day fare: Koreas at odds, guns up for regulation, budget set to expire – people, there’s nothing happening here!

Global warming and Holder declaring big bankers formally above U.S. laws are happening, but we’ve washed our hands of responsibility. Some things are just too big to change. What?

I’ve been a bit disoriented, lately. My attention has been inward. As I emerge from myself to look about, I think I see people unable to move. It seems ‘action’ means supporting someone else. I’m not sure how to work purposefully, directly, all on my own. I know how to vote and give money, but I’ve reason to believe those are mainly ego salves. I would like to know how to do something powerful – all by myself.

Then I think: these twin realities – we can’t change, we have to change – maybe these are pregnant with possibility, after all. Maybe just a little jiggle in the right spot can set off the molecular cascade that spreads and builds and tomorrow puts fuel cells on your street corner and your broker in the pokey. Perhaps I’m wrong about it all being wasted talk. Maybe I’ve just needed to get my voice back.