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Religion versus God October 22, 2008

While I am not a religious person, I have always been a faithful person.  I pray daily and seek out God in the little places: in nature, in others, in my heart.  Before I act, I always try to ask myself if the action is aligned with my morals and values.  Above all, I try to be God-ful, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but always trying. 

The most important values to me are love and kindness and I think all actions can be judged against them.  These values apply to our relationships with others, the earth, animals, and God.  During this election season (and earlier), I have been appalled by the hateful venom that has come from religious establishments in this country and from the lack of willigness to care for the less fortunate.

Reading blogs and listening to the likes of James Dobson, I keep hearing that the two most important issues for Christians in the election are protection of traditional marriage and unborn life.  I dont think either of those are bad values.   Marriage between a man and a woman is sacred and beautiful.  I also think abortion is generally morally wrong and I dont support it.  However, I also dont  beleive in a constitutional ban on gay marraige, nor am I part of the pro-life camp. 

Spewing hate towards the gay community and pro-choicers is wrong, wrong, wrong.  I really dont see how civil unions threatens anybody’s traditional marraige.  Are these people really that insecure in their marraiges?!?!  Civil unions are  not going to destroy anybody’s marraiges or corrupt your children.  In contrast, banning gay marraige is hateful and judgeful.  How about trying out a little love and kindness, and if your God dissaproves, then let him judge, not you.

Likewise, overturning Roe v Wade places a woman’s rights to control over her body (and her life) in jeapordy.  Taking away rights moves us towards a slippery and dangerous slope.  Nobody is pro-abortion, they are pro-choice.  If the pro-life camp spent the amount of energy and money they spent fighting abortion on adoption,  contraception, and opportunity for women, I think they would go much farther in reducing abortions.  In addition, they would empower women rather than dimishing their rights.

By focusing so much on gay marraige and abortion, Christians are completely missing the boat on far greater opportunities for good.  If Christians are concerned about murder of the unborn, they should be equally outraged about the murder of US soldiers and Iraqi citizens.  They should be concerned about the underpriveleged and struggling.  Providing universal health care is the decent thing to do.  Caring for veterans and the mentally ill is the moral thing to do.  Protecting the environment is being thankful for the gifts God has provided.

It is my opinion that the fundamentalist movement in this country doesn’t have much to do with God at all.  It has to do with fear and judgement rather than love and kindness.  I hope that the true Christians will vote in November (Republican or Democrat) with their hearts rather than with their church.  I will be, and I dare anyone to call me a heathen.

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DNC August 28, 2008

                                        Barak Obama Series by Shepard Fairey

And Barack stood up that day, and he spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about the world as it is and the world as it should be. And he said that all too often we accept the distance between the two, and we settle for the world as it is, even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations.

But he reminded us that we also know what the world should like — look like. He said we know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like, and he urged us to believe in ourselves, to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn’t that the great American story?

Michelle Obama

Millions of Americans have been knocked down. And this is the time as Americans, together, we get back up. Our people are too good, our debt to our parents and grandparents too great, our obligation to our children is too sacred.

These are extraordinary times. This is an extraordinary election. The American people are ready. I’m ready. Barack Obama is ready. This is his time. This is our time. This is America’s time.

-Joe Biden

For me, this is a season of hope. New hope-for a just and fair prosperity for the many and not just the few. New hope — and this is the cause of my life –  New hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American — north, south, east and west — young and old — Will have decent, quality, affordable health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.

We can meet the challenges. With Barack Obama- Yes we can. And finally, finally- Yes we will.

Barack Obama will close the book on the old politics of race against race, gender against gender, group against group, and straight against gay.

And Barack Obama will be a commander-in-chief who understands that young Americans in uniform must never ever be committed to a mistake, but always to a mission worthy of their bravery and sacrifice.

-Ted Kennedy

 

Independence Day July 3, 2008

Filed under: 2008 elections,Barack Obama,Independence Day,Iraq War,Politics — onarete @ 6:19 pm

Photo credit: Jayel Aheram

Of course, precisely because America isn’t perfect, precisely because our ideals constantly demand more from us, patriotism can never be defined as loyalty to any particular leader or government or policy. As Mark Twain, that greatest of American satirists and proud son of Missouri, once wrote, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” We may hope that our leaders and our government stand up for our ideals, and there are many times in our history when that’s occurred. But when our laws, our leaders or our government are out of alignment with our ideals, then the dissent of ordinary Americans may prove to be one of the truest expression of patriotism.

Barak Obama, Monday, June 30th, 2008, Independence, Missouri

 

No more May 1, 2008

Filed under: Iraq War,Politics — onarete @ 6:22 pm

Photo credit

They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.  -Ernest Hemmingway

Some numbers on the war in Iraq:

  • 4,063: Number of American military casualties
  • 29,829: Number of American troops wounded
  • 1,205,025: Estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed
  • $516 billion: Amount spent on the war
  • $1.4 billion: Amount taxpayers have spent in Idaho (my homestate) on the war
  • 391,430: Number of people In Idaho who could have had free health care instead
  • $3 trillion: Opportunity cost of the war according to Nobel-Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz
  • 1 in 5: Soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • 1,500: Soldiers in Iraq of Afghanistan who are now homeless or at risk of homelessness

Should I keep going?  Or is that enough?

 

We are the change February 13, 2008

Filed under: 2008 elections,Barack Obama,Morality,Politics — onarete @ 6:02 pm

“I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not get a job in my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.” – Barack Obama

I try not to be too outspoken when it comes to politics.  If you talk too much, you don’t listen enough.  I try to understand other people’s point of views and learn from them.  I keep my own opinions for family and close friends whom I know won’t be offended.

This election is too important to stay quiet.  At the risk of alienating some of my good friends, I think it is paramount to stand up for something.  In my opinion, our government has veered far off the path of acceptable behavior.  The current administration has blurred the lines between church and state, lied to the public about the unjust war in Iraq, muddied the reputation of the US on an international level, repealed laws and regulations protecting the environment, and most egregiously, protected the interests of an elite few above all else.   None of these issues are a matter of right or left, party politics.  These are matters of morality, of right and wrong, and should be important to all Americans.

A government should act in the best interest of its citizens, of all its citizens.  If it doesn’t, the government should be void.  It becomes time for revolution, for change.  In the word’s of Howard Zinn:

Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don’t “win,” there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope.

Of all the current presidential candidates, both Republican and Democrat, Barack Obama presents the best opportunity for change and for hope.  His proposed policy is decidedly in the best interest of the people.  This means you.  Whether you are liberal or not. 

As opposed to George W. Bush, whose actions have been narrowly focused on the short-term benefit of a few, Obama’s policy address a long-term improvement for the majority.  How so?

  • Healthcare: Today, 47 million Americans lack health insurance.  Obama’s plan would provide coverage for all. 
  • Iraq:  Obama has been an opponent of the war from the beginning.  In addition, he plans to focus on diplomacy in the region and on the humanitarian crisis there.
  • Energy and the Environment: Like me, Obama believes that the climate change and the current state of environmental (un)sustainability is “one of the most important moral issues of our generation.”  He would restore U.S. leadership on the issue of global change, improve energy efficiency and carbon emission output, and help end our dependence on foreign oil.
  • Poverty: 37 million Americans live under the poverty line.  As opposed to a “hand-out” program, his proposed policy would strengthen transitional jobs and career pathway programs, improve public transportation, and support parents with young children.
  • EconomyObama proposes tax-cuts for the working class as opposed to the wealthy, strengthening the ability of workers to unionize, fighting for fair trade rather than free trade, and providing programs that would strengthen work-life balance. 

Supporting Obama is our chance to make a “small act” for a better America.  At the end of the day, if Obama is not your candidate of choice, I can respect that.  Just make sure that the person you choose is going to make a change.  The same old is not working.  Pick someone who will represent your best interest, not the interest of an elite minority.  Pick someone who will take care of those less fortunate than you and I, both at home and abroad; pick someone who will protect our earth and its resources for future generations.  These are issues of morality.  Let’s start change now. 

 

Super Tuesday February 5, 2008

Filed under: Politics — onarete @ 7:03 pm

If you live in one of the 24 states that are holding a primary or caucus today, make sure that you get out and make your voice heard.

I went to the polls this morning and voted for Barak Obama.  Whoever you choose, get involved.