Life, Death, Points In-Between

So I didn’t blog last week. The week before had been a very rough one here at Saint Central, so I needed a little time to rest.

And what happens while I’m not blogging? EVERYTHING.

Hold on, kids and neighbours, we got a lot to talk about.

Let’s start with a perennial favourite, The Bush Administration!

1. Conservatives Attacking Birth Control – Never ones to let a silly thing like a 35-year-old Supreme Court decision stand in the way of trying to tell women what to do with their bodies, the Bush administration launched a new attack on birth control at the tail end of July. How is contraception abortion? What brain damage resulted in that “even-Evil-Knievel-wouldn’t-jump-that-far” leap of logic?

Did these people learn nothing from the failure of abstinence-only education? Are they too blind to see that the use of birth control prevents many of the unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions? Too controlling to allow women access to full reproductive care? Or just too fucking stupid to understand that having a religion does not give you the right to force your beliefs into law and therefore onto other people? (Hint: “yes” to all of the above.)

I must have missed the part of the Bible that says it’s okay to force other people to act the way you think that they should. And since I’ve read it cover to cover a few times, I’m starting to think it’s not in there. And yet, to watch religious and political conservatives in action, you’d think Jesus preached fascism and control over others instead of tolerance, understanding, and unconditional love for all. I must have also missed the part where He said, “Give them no choices; make them act in accordance with My Father’s laws.”

Hey Republicans: Roe v. Wade was decided 35 years ago. You lost. Let it go. Work on teaching your values and beliefs to your children and, hey, start living by those beliefs yourself and stop nominating infidelitous Presidential candidates. When it comes to winning hearts and minds, role models are far more effective than laws.

(By the way, I had an interesting conversation with a ministry student over the weekend. We both agreed that people have to find their own path to God and religion, and it must be their choice; forcing it on them only breeds resentment and more of the false piety that continually damages every major religion in the world. Good luck in your ministry, Mat, and I sincerely hope you spread the message to others that you can’t force your God on people. Lord knows, all religions need more people who think that way.)

2. Russia And Georgia Went To War – Okay, let me get this straight. Georgia, a breakaway republic of the former Soviet Union, invaded South Ossetia, itself a breakaway republic of Georgia, where Russian peacekeepers had been stationed for months. Russia responds by invading the invasion, retaking the Ossetian capital of You-Can’t-Pronounce-It-Either, pushes Georgian troops back to the border and then follows them into Georgia in a retaliatory invasion of the NATO-hopeful, increasingly Western-leaning nation. Words like “genocide,” “war crimes,” “excessive retaliation,” and “vodka-swilling Putin-suckers” are bandied about, and after some toothless saber-rattling by European nations and the US, a temporary cease-fire agreement comes about, and that’s where we stand right now.

No one has yet explained to me why South Ossetia is so important to either Russia or Georgia.

The most pertinent thing to me coming out of this is John McCain’s statement: “In the 21st Century, nations don’t invade other nations.” Really, Captain? You must have been in cryogenic storage when the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq then, I suppose. (By the way, McCain’s top foreign policy adviser has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Georgian government over the past few years. The same aide also worked for Trent Lott, the disgraced former Senate Majority Leader. Curious, eh?)

3. The Olympics: Doping is out, Lip-synching is in – In these days of constant battles over steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports, it’s good to know that someone somehow still has the time to fake even the insignificant details.

Case in point: The singing of the Chinese national anthem at the start of the Olympics games this year was faked. The world saw a cute 9-year-old lip-synching to the voice of a 7-year-old, who had the better voice but also had “crooked teeth,” making her unsuitable for the televised performance, according to a member of China’s Politburo, who requested the change. Like the world cares if a little girl in China has crooked teeth. We’ve got wars going on out here.

Why stop there, though? With all the computer graphics work in movies and TV nowadays, we can replace the German women’s weightlifting team with supermodels that appear to be superstrong! We could make Beijing’s rampant smog look like friendly spirits of the ancestors! We could make Bob Costas look like anybody else! Don’t half-ass the fakery, is all I’m saying.

4. The War On Drugs: Arkansas Ain’t Playin – This from Helena-West Helena, Arkansas: police have instituted a 24-hour curfew on a 10-block area due to drugs and drug-related violence in the area. Is this the right thing to do?

According to the ACLU, it isn’t: according to that article, state officials for the ACLU say that constitutional rights are being violated by the curfew. (They don’t mention the issue on their website; ergo, no link.) While I usually lean towards agreeing with the ACLU, this time, they can bite me.

The people in that neighborhood have the right to live lives free of drugs and gangs. They have the right to sleep in their beds instead of having “to sleep on the floor, because of stray bullets.” And, like the Helena-West Helena police, I’m more on the side of protecting them by getting drug dealers off the street than I am the ACLU.

The curfew has already resulted in 32 arrests (at the time of that article), 10 for felony charges, so yes, obviously criminal activity in the area is being curtailed and prosecuted. There had been no curfew violation arrests, and, finally, the police have been heavily armed to match the weaponry of drug dealers, like AK-47s.

If it’s really a “war on drugs” in this country, then it’s long past time that it was fought like a war. The scourge of narcotics has to be eliminated, or at least significantly reduced, and this works for me, until someone comes up with a better plan (and educational funding increases.)

“We’re not here to play,” said Helena-West Helena Police Chief Fred Fielder. Amen to that.

My only concern here is making sure that tougher enforcement is being carried out across all lines: political, racial, and economic. If that can be guaranteed, or at least strenuously avoided, then I think there’s some good lessons for other cities to take from this.

Very special thanks to my best friend for bringing this story to my attention.

5. Heaven’s Overeager Recruitment Drive – While we here on Earth are mourning, God’s got a great new drinking buddy in my friend Taylor, having a good laugh with her while watching Bernie Mac perform, and probably trying to romance her with the soulful sounds of Isaac Hayes. May they all rest in peace, but we weren’t done with them yet down here, God.

VS – 08.13.08


One Response to “Life, Death, Points In-Between”

  1. I’m undecided on the 24 hour curfew. It smacks of Totalitarianism. Then again, curtailing reproductive rights does also. As Americans we’re too undisciplined for totalitarianism. During prohibition we were told don’t drink… so we ran moonshine. Before Rowe vs Wade we were told no abortions… so back alley doctors butchered women around the country. In Arkansas they are told to stay in their homes. You can bet there’s twenty people running around just because they were told not to.

    I’m Baptist, my god lets me make my own decisions, my own choices. I am the only one he’ll hold accountable for them.

    All in all, great thought provoking blog. I may have to cyber stalk your blog if you keep that up.


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