Article from Esquire Magazine…
Adult Sibling Rivalry is something that has gone on in my family far too long. It’s a painful thing.
So, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, time to kick back from the festivities for a bit then gear up for the next big holiday, Christmas. It’s also Black Friday for so many shoppers who are willing to fight the hoards and save a few bucks on all the bargains offered by the retailers. No thank you… I’ll pass!
I’m in Arizona right now, away from the rest of my family, and planned on making my own Thanksgiving dinner. I was OK with it, we’d Skype for a while and then go take our post-dinner naps.
Then a few days ago my neighbors, Ken and Cathy, invited me to have dinner with them. I like Ken and Cathy and quickly accepted the offer. They’d also invited a couple other neighbors. Fawn is a delightful Canadian woman who moved to America 12 years ago. Alan is a very effusive 72 year old English man who moved here 26 years ago. He’s very proud of his becoming an American citizen 20 years ago. The conversations that ensued were lively and full of humor.
Oh-oh… The conversation turns ugly
Eventually though, the subject matter filtered down to religion and politics. Wow! I’d suspected that my hosts were somewhat conservative, but we’re talking uber-conservative religious right.
Ken started us off with the comment that we are feeling God’s wrath because of the sinful liberal agenda we’ve embraced and the entitlement society we’ve become. I was taken aback by his conversation starter. He’s a quiet man, but very outspoken about religion and politics.
Alan joined right in and threw in our immigration policies and cheered Arizona’s steps to curb the illegal alien problem. “Send them all back to Mexico. If they want to come to America, they should do it legally, like I did. But they (Mexicans) won’t do it because they’re not smart enough. They’re stupid, lazy people.” I came very close to getting up and leaving after that comment. I made a few rebuttals, but they fell on deaf ears.
And of course there was Obama bashing. Every tea-party issue came up… especially the so-called birther controversy. And now I don’t know how Obama is going to solve our economic crisis… I learned that he can’t even balance a checkbook. I also learned that our President is a wimp when it comes to foreign policy. And that he’s done nothing, accomplished nothing, and will continue to do nothing to move our nation back into prosperity.
Oh, and by the way, We knew where Osama bin Laden was on Bill Clinton’s watch. Clinton did nothing about it, leaving the time bomb for George W. Bush to defuse. And Clinton should have been able to get to Osama bin Laden, apparently we had the intelligence then and knew where he was.
When I asked why Bush didn’t get bin Laden, it was because Clinton’s lack of foresight ultimately allowed 9/11 to happen. Osama bin Laden went into deep underground and was impossible to track down. “Ahh…”,I said,”he must have been hidden very well. We didn’t find him until Obama became president.” The subject changed after that.
By the time I left, everyone knew that I voted for Barack Obama. Ken and Cathy were gracious hosts… they told me they’d pray for me.
“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…”
Timothy Leary – 1969
I’m not anti-war. But I’m not pro-war either. When it comes to defending our freedom, our shores, our human rights, I realize that sometimes diplomacy doesn’t solve the issues. But too many times wars are waged because a leader is determined to leave a historical legacy of his “achievements”.
Consider the following quotes from the many people who understood how fruitless war can be:
1. “Old men declare war because they have failed to solve complex political and economic problems.” ~~Arthur Hoppe, columnist
2. “After each war there is a little less democracy left to save.” ~~Brooks Atkinson, theatre critic
3. “War does not determine who is right, only who is left.” ~~Bertrand Russell, British philosopher
4. “We Americans have no commission from God to police the world.” ~~Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States
5. “No nation ever had an army large enough to guarantee it against attack in time of peace, or ensure it of victory in time of war.” ~~Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States
6. “War settles nothing.” ~~Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States and 1st Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
7. “War in the end is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of soldiers by politicians, and of idealists by cynics.” ~~Chris Hedges, American journalist and war correspondent
8. “After victory, you have more enemies.” ~~Cicero, Roman philosopher and statesman
9. “The best defense is no offense.” ~~Dr. Ivan Eland, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute
10. “Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both. “ ~~Abraham Flexner, American educator
11. “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” ~~Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
12. “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” ~~Albert Einstein, father of modern physics
13. “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.” ~~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, writer and Nobel Prize winner
14. “Violence as a way of gaining power…is being camouflaged under the guise of tradition, national honor [and] national security…” ~~Alfred Adler, physician and psychotherapist
15. “Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war but capacity to prevent it.” ~~Anne O’Hare McCormick, foreign news correspondent
16. “All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.” ~~Alexis de Tocqueville, French political scientist, historian, and politician
17. “Make wars unprofitable and you make them impossible.” ~~A. Philip Randolph, leader in the civil rights and labor movements
18. “War should be the politics of last resort. And when we go to war, we should have a purpose that our people understand and support.” ~~Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and four-star general
19. “The dangerous patriot…drifts into chauvinism and exhibits blind enthusiasm for military actions.” ~~Colonel James A. Donovan, U.S. Marine Corps
20. “The failure to dissect the cause of war leaves us open for the next installment.” ~~Chris Hedges, American journalist and war correspondent
21. “We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives…inside ourselves.” ~~Albert Camus, French author, journalist, and philosopher
22. “No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.” ~~Alexis de Tocqueville, French political scientist, historian, and politician
23. “We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.” ~~Dwight D. Eisenhower, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States and 1st Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
24. “Wisdom is better than weapons of war.” ~~Ecclesiastes 9:18
25. “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.” ~~Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States and 1st Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
The local newspaper in Statesville, NC decided to print the KKK’s flier, inviting “white people only” to a rally and cross lighting, on the front page. The flier takes up a good part of the page and dwarfs an ad for an urgent care center below it. The article is almost nonchalant about the event, like it’s a common event. Oh… and it’s “Free Admition (sic)”.