A few days ago a "journalist" on a FOX news program commenting about the public's revulsion with the actions of Tiger Woods, said something very seriously along these lines:
"I understand that Tiger is a Buddhist or something. There is not the forgiveness in Buddhism that there is in Chrisitianity. I would suggest that he convert to Christianity and receive forgiveness for his actions."
As we watch and experience the death of American capitalism, there is a general finger-pointing exercise that aims at creeping socialism. But the U.S. is much farther from socialism than ever, and there is no remnant of it if there ever was one. In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted some economic plans that put the brakes on run-away capitalistic greed in order to save the United States from total disaster. Since then there has been a steady march toward greed capitalism.
Greed capitalism is not really capitalism at all. It has been a carefully crafted scheme to bilk Americans into thinking they were engaged in a never-ending economic spiral upward. We were made into spending and buying robots. We became such good puppets that we never blinked when the American dream cost us two, instead of one, adult workers in each family unit in order to afford to make ends meet. That meant doubling the work force in order to meet mediocrity in America.
Both right-wing evangelist Pat Robertson and equally right-wing radio squawker Rush Limbaugh have openly shared their similar opinion about the earthquake that ravaged Haiti. They both have been critical of the people of Haiti and in a real sense blame the people of that long-suffering nation themselves for much of their misery. Pat Robertson, receiving a backlash from the general American public, has tried to gloss over his insensitive statements, but remains critical of Haitians for their "deal with the devil," a total distortion of historical facts. Rush Limbaugh is proudly holding fast to his boasting and insensitivity.
These political bed partners share more than just their inhuman reaction to a catastrophe of monumental proportions. They are prototypes of the crude, cruel, inhuman, and unholy alliance that has been formed between the political right-wing and the fundamental religious pentecostals. Each group was out of power, on the fringe of American political and religious society. They parlayed their out-of-the-mainstream rants into a force to be reckoned with. In fact, they helped in forming a coalition of those two fringe groups and took control of the Republican Party. Not long ago, even the staunchest right-winger would have been embarrassed to be identified with either Limbaugh or Robertson. Today, their power-grab in American conservative politics has elevated them to center court.
Watching "Meet the Press" on NBC-TV, with the moderator sitting between former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton was a change in the environment. I personally did not like either of their administrations or either of them personally. But there they were, exchanging cooperative comments about joining them in support of Haiti following that horrible earthquake there. Though differing in their political perspectives, they were able to put that aside for the good of humanity and for the good will of the American people. How absolutely appropriate and examplery was this action. In today's overheated political climate, with political wars swirling all around us, and every single thing dividing Americans in polarizing hatred, one could ponder for one brief moment the possibilities inherent in cooperation. Could it possibly become a catalyst to return to the sanity of politics and government in the U.S.?
On another front, I reminisce about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in America. I knew him. I knew his father, "Daddy King," better. I met his mother also. In fact, I was asked by Daddy King to speak at their church, Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta. I sat on Daddy King's front lawn with him one night as he spoke of his son's murder exactly one year ago on that evening. He told me, "I thought that after one year the pain would begin to ease. It hasn't." I had no words. I was emotionally blown away. Someday some author will write a book about the impact of Daddy King on his son's life. It was profound. Someday, perhaps, a movie will be made about the largely untold story of Daddy King, the pastor with the worn-smooth dark blue suit, the humble man, the man of principle, the man of God. His story and influence must be told!
Today marked the demise of Air America, the predominently liberal radio system. I have been searching to remember if I ever listened to it. I don't believe I ever did. No matter. I do not like stilted political radio.
Most disturbing to me are the sweeping conclusions drawn about its demise. Right-wing extremists see in its death the pending death knell for all of liberal thought and action. They see it as proof that liberalism is a failure. That's pretty drastic and over-reaching in opinion. No similar conclusions were drawn by liberals about the bankruptcy of major American corporations that generously supported right-wing agendas. Corporations that almost exclusively heralded conservative programs have died. So?
Among the myriad things we have forgotten about the horrid two terms of George W. Bush, the Iraqi mistake hangs over us. It will haunt us for a long, long time. Anyone with any historical and current understanding of the Iraq "nation" knew what a terrible mistake was made invading that sovereign nation. Yes, Saddam was a horrible leader, but no nation, including the U.S., has the right to trump up false charges to justify such an invasion. And have the ongoing ignorance and bravado to celebrate our "victory" there with a broad "Mission Accomplished" sign as President Bush had one shaky hand on the steering wheel of the plane that landed on a aircraft carrier with him in full military gear. Shades of the AWOL military reservist Bush.
While Bush slinked out of the White House, conservatives, wishing to cover-up the Iraqi mistake, celebrated the new direction taken by General Petraeus. That new direction shook out this way in Iraq. To quell the Sunni insurgency, the U.S. under the new general's leadership, secretly put the Sunni military on the payroll of the United States. The cost: $30 million a month. And it was done without the knowledge of the Shiite government in Baghdad. Who knows what else they were promised? But this much I know. The Sunni leaders thought they would get autonomy in their western province, a share in Iraqi oil revenue, and a voice in the national government in Iraq. It does not look as though the central, Shiite-led government in Baghdad is prepared to grant those wishes. And that government hated the deal the Americans cut wth the Sunnis.