Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How Do You Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.?

There's no one way, right way to do it.  Did you do something?

One of my acquaintances from high school posted on Facebook that believe it or not, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a republican.  I had never heard that.  Still not sure I believe it.  But at the very least, if he was a republican, he certainly wasn't a typical one.  And a republican in the 1960's is a very different one from a republican in 2013.  Here's the article if you're inclined to read it.  Personally, I couldn't get through it on my first try.

I think the fact of the matter is that if asked, MLK wouldn't have identified himself with either of the two leading parties.  He existed outside of the political ideology.  He was more a pacifist, and an idealist, than a democrat or a republican.

That's kinda how I feel, too.  I think of myself as a liberal, a progressive, and most times a democrat.  But I'm not married to any one political party or stance.  I'm open minded and always gathering more information to find the truth that we all can share in.  I'm not looking to "win" or "beat" the opposing side.  The victory I seek is for all Americans, all citizens of the world. 

Here's some more info on MLK and a Houston group's assertion that MLK was a republican.  There are all sorts of characterizations being made based on his actions, but it seems obvious to me that he existed outside of the political realm.  The article even quotes an expert as noting that MLK made it a practice not to affiliate with any party.

Some things are bigger than politics.

I think a lot of things are bigger than politics.  And the way to finding real solutions to some of our biggest problems has to supersede party affiliation.  That is why MLK was such a radical revolutionary, and why he is remembered so glowingly.  He found the unbiased and unadulterated truth and championed that, for all to enjoy, for all to celebrate.  No political party has rights to claim such an ideal as their own. 

Looking back through some of the history listed in the articles I linked above, I wonder about their voracity, sure.  But I also am intrigued to note the differences over the years that the parties have championed.  It says to me not that one party is better than the other, or that one has shown greater courage or dignity over time, but that the process is working.  The process of debate and conversation between all voices is finding the truth for us all.  It isn't one side that has made us great and the other side that tears us down.  It is the coming together in cooperation that has brought our greatest triumphs.  Participating, actively, in the process of our government not only makes government work better, it makes our lives better.  And sometimes that means working for the establishment, and other times it means working against it.  Learning the dance is our legacy.

Friday, January 11, 2013

This Just In... Christmas Is Over

Wha?  What happened?

What was all that noise, just now?  The singing, clamoring, and the YELLING ABOUT SELLING STUFF!!!  "Jesus Christ!" I said.  And I was right, apparently. 

I think that there was a little more going on there than a holiday for the birth of Jesus.  Yeah, yeah, I know, there was New Year's too, and a host of others.  But there was a helluva lot more going on.

We had people mourning the loss of their child.  There was vilification and the ascension of heroes.  There was drama and then some.  Once again, there was tragedy, and once again, the media slurped it up and sprayed it back at us, with more, more, more.

When are we going to learn?  There is no way to place a safety force field over our kids.  Adding more guns to the situation just doesn't seem like a good idea to me.

We've gotta talk about what drives people crazy.  But that's what drives people crazy in the first place.

We need to get serious about our priorities.  Is it really so important that guns be so easily available?  And ammunition too?  Why is it so important that we have guns?

I don't own any.  I've fired a rifle before, and shot some pellet guns, but I imagine I rate as a gun novice.  Still, I feel that my safety is not increased by guns, or wouldn't be by me owning one.  I think guns threaten my safety more than enhance it.  But that's me.

I believe that people should have a right to own a gun and be a responsible steward of it.  Having a gun requires great responsibility.  As does driving a motor vehicle.  Or voting Republican, for that matter.

I just don't see the sense in amassing an arsenal, like so many do.  It only seems to build the paranoia and suspicion that is present at the beginning of the decision making.  Why do we need so many nuclear bombs, for example?  To "scare" our enemies, who have an equally large pile of similar bombs?  In order to deal with our problems, we need to approach them realistically, not by swinging a bigger stick.  Although such a tactic might work in the short term, in the long term the problems usually get exacerbated.

So go ahead.  Call me a liberal.  Bleeding heart.  All that shit.  Whatever.  You can even shoot me.  Kill me.  Rub me out.  Silence me with your assassin's bullet.  But there is a grand accounting to all of this, and that will bring the greater good.  So can your hysterical chanting about how the government's gonna take away our guns and we'll all be goose-stepping in no time.  Because it's hogwash.  Bullshit.  You're kidding yourself if you think owning a gun makes both you and me safer.  It still doesn't give you the right to kill, and all of your hypothetical scenarios where you get to play hero don't actually slay the dragon.  There's more to this story, poncho. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ready the Till

I don't know what I want to write about.  That's a beautiful thing.  An opportunity.  A commencement.  Pomp and circumstance.

It's a new year.  2013.  A new way of living.  A whole new world, out of the ashes.  This long strange trip continues, in spite of the grand proclamations of its demise.

As do I.

It's easy to take this time and look back on the year just past and project into the near future.  We always seem to do it.  What did you like and not like about last year?  What are you planning to do differently?

I have often begun the year with a flurry of written activity.  There was a time that I set goals of production for myself-- I seem to remember a goal of a hundred pages of writing and forty drawings.  Didn't happen, but it was ambitious and optimistic.  And I was producing a lot more art those days.

I had the idea that I need to relocate to an "artist's community" the other day.  Like in the last week.  I was thinking of some place that has a lot of talent in the community and nurtures its artists.  Perhaps that is just something that my community needs to do for me.  Maybe if I practice more, get more active, and start producing art, the community will respond.

I have a lot of raw material for art production.  Bits of collected metal, some gnarled, some rusted.  Lots of different grades of material, from chunks of steel to fine wire.  I also have a fair amount of scrap wood, and a floating assortment of screws and nails.  I tell ya, there's something brewing here.

I always have big plans this side of Christmas, in my head, for next year's decorations.  I want to try and win an award or get some press.  I'm an attention whore.  I want to work towards something beautiful that others can enjoy because I brought it to be.  That's the way of the artist.  Sort of.

So this morning I popped the top on my laptop and got moving on the writing.  And I feel like I got some of the plaque of the walls of my intestine and the soluble fiber is producing something.  It's time to get regular again, with this writing.  With this artistic stretching and groping for meaning and beauty.  There's ground to turn, worms to feed, seeds to sow.  I hope to be here even more than I was last year. 

And I want to have a more productive garden, too.