Tag: tolerance

The Shabbes Goy

In 2007 after reading essays by DavidSeth and TiaRachel I was prompted to share this little tale my Dad wrote & had published on-line the previous December. The link from his e-mail no longer worked, so I went on a search…tried ‘teh googel’. Imagine my surprise to find page after page of sites with his story. I already had permission from him to do anything I wanted with it, so I thought Pearl Harbor Day & Hanukkah would be the perfect time to share it.

This has become an annual tradition.

My Dad is a Great Guy, his experiences varied and many… in a ‘Big Fish’ kind of way. He served in WWII and later became the fencing coach of Columbia University in the 1940’s-50s and was an early advocate of civil rights in sports (see 1948), eventually retiring to California.

Enjoy!

A Time to Speak:

This is a lesson for school children and teens brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance program. It frankly, in these days, needs to be learned by more adults it seems then children, though those same adults, parents, granparents and other relatives, friends, neighbors, strangers and talking heads of many media outlets are showing just wasn’t learned, nor wanted to be, when they were young!

A Speech by Charles Morgan

Media Firestorm and the Qu’ran

Actions like this enrage many not only those they are directly pointed at!

In this case, just like if others were to announce then do a burning of another’s religious teachings book, it would enrage many of different faiths or even not following an established faith or beliefs.

This past decade has had nothing to do with religious ideologies except by those extremist preaching the total opposite of all the established religions beliefs and those who support same while claiming they are members of the true ideology.

On Saving Us From The Immoral, Or “Ready, Fire…Aim!”

It was about a week ago that we saw the ruling throwing out California’s Prop 8; that decision has now been appealed, and we will see, at some point in the future, how the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handles the matter.

A couple of days later, I had a story up that walked through the ruling, describing the tactics used by the Prop 8 proponents, which, in the opinion of the Judge who looked at the evidence, were basically to try to scare Californians into thinking that gay people, once they’re able to get gay married, will somehow now be free to evangelize your kids and make them gay, too.

In the course of answering comments on the several sites where the story is up, I noticed that there were those who felt the Bible should be guiding our thinking here…that if it did, we would be better off than where we are today, with all those immoral gay people running around free to do all those immoral gay things.

This led me to an obvious question: are those who have been using the Bible as a sort of “divining rod” to figure out who is immoral and who is not…actually any good at it?

Gunn High School PWNS Westboro Baptist Hate with Love! Get your Inspiration and Hope right here

     I found this on the Coffee Party Facebook page and thought it would be great to share the power of love with all of you today.

   I hope you enjoy watching the power of Love overcoming the force of Hate, as embodied in the adult leaders and the young future leaders of America of the Gunn High School of California, who came out to support Love and Tolerance in defiance of the Hate promoted by the Westboro Baptist Church, a group that routinely protests the funerals of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as others, with signs that say “God Hates Fags” and “God loves dead soliders”.

   Look at the signs of Hope and Love. It is inspirational.

    Look at the pathetic dozen or so hate filled patrons of the Westboro Baptist Church, who, lead by Fred Phelps, preach a message of Hate and exclusion. Now compare that to the massive outpouring of Love, Acceptance and Tolerance that you can see among the hundreds and hundreds of students and faculty at Gunn High School of California. It is truly inspiring.

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More to hope for below the fold

‘Jesus Rifles’, Again!!!

ABC News is doing a follow up on their initial report on the ‘Jesus Rifles’ with the christian religious inscriptions on military rifle scopes, still being used and which goes beyond the ones used in the military.

This cut is in the report and video of:

“Shame on them forever for their impossibly slow, plodding and utterly backwards plan for correction of this national and international disgrace,” said Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF).

Couldn’t have stated it better, in a civil manner, except I’d use much more stronger words and with more rage especially as to the thought process by the manufacturing executives allowing this but also any who think this shines a positive light in fighting an insurgency in another’s country, of their own freedom of religious beliefs, and especially that it gives a positive, macho, message as to any christian religious ideology. It smacks of extreme christian fundamentalism as the fundamentalist of the Muslim religion or any other’s with extremist views of intolerance towards others!

Common Sense, Common Views, Common Purpose

On this day where the negative news about the War in Afghanistan, fresh doubts about President Obama, and a lack of Democratic unity in the Senate regarding Health Care drives a sourly pessimistic news cycle, now is as good a time as any to push back against the doom and gloom brigade.  It may be time for the Democratic party to begin to reform itself first before it can ever make a solid effort to reform the country.  As much as Republicans have provided a more or less solid base of opposition and obstruction, Democrats have only appeared marginally united and only then for brief periods of time.  While I am aware that this is hardly anything new, disorganization will prove to be our own undoing unless we look inward and take stock of our shortcomings.  Everyone talks about this, of course, but as Mark Twain put it regarding discussions concerning weather, nobody does anything about it.      

The most current gloomy AP story of yesterday was predictably dire,

WASHINGTON – The 60 votes aren’t there any more.

With the Senate set to begin debate Monday on health care overhaul, the all-hands-on-deck Democratic coalition that allowed the bill to advance is fracturing already. Yet majority Democrats will need 60 votes again to finish.

Some Democratic senators say they’ll jump ship from the bill without tighter restrictions on abortion coverage. Others say they’ll go unless a government plan to compete with private insurance companies gets tossed overboard. Such concessions would enrage liberals, the heart and soul of the party.

The first stirrings of a concept known as Intersectionality began to develop in the 1960’s and 1970’s in opposition to the exclusivity, post-modernism influenced arguments of a prior generation of activists and thinkers.  In brief, Intersectionality rightly assumes that taking into account a variety of lenses and perspectives, as well as how they interact with each other is a much better means of attacking a problem.  Instead of taking one or two issues in isolation, viewing the similarities and acknowledging the spot at which all points meet would, as it is proposed, facilitate common purpose much more easily. In that spirit, seeking to address interrelated issues that comprise a complex matter rather than focusing too heavily on quibbling details would do our Senators and Representatives well.  

As the media has presented it, one would assume that the reservations brought up by individual members of Congress while in hot debate over health care have been matters of profound heft.  Certainly the political football of both Stupak and the Public Option are not issues to be taken lightly, but having read many of the published reports regarding day to day conduct in committee, the substantive concerns have often taken a back seat to needless minutia or pointless hair-splitting.  Threats and counter-threats in this laughably extended proceeding have ceased being coercive and might as well be duly noted in the Congressional Record without objection.  The mystical filibuster, for example, once was feared and sparsely used, and now has become part of process wallpaper to such a degree that even the threat of the procedural measure when invoked produces shrugged shoulders more than abject terror.  True filibusters are rare in any case.          

The Democratic party might at least consider the idea of Intersectionality if it is to prevent more than nominal GOP gains in 2010 and if it deigns to rule for an extended period of time.  Having won, it must now find a way to not overstay its welcome in the good graces of the American people.  Democrats know very well what they do not want to be and aren’t so versed on what they think they ought to be.  Many activists believe that a new way of looking at established rules would push every Democratic figure forward rather than being mired in conventional modes of thought that are long past their expiration date.  Many would argue that several of the long term legislators with seniority are long past their expiration date as well.  It is an unfortunate fact that we have been rather frequently and alarmingly prone to factionalism in recent history, which is partially a result of a disturbing lack of more or less uniform direction.  It should be noted that I do not see this as some greater trend along the same lines as peering at an ant farm, whereby what seems from a distance to be chaotic is upon closer inspection merely a method to the madness.  

Seeking to find mutual purpose between individuals and individual organizations alike, rather than pointing out differences and highlighting distinctions could well be our salvation.  What complicates this process, however, are the multitude of non-profits and PACs that dot the landscape, many of which are devoted to a single issue.  Each was founded out of a desire to make sure that the unique concerns of a particular group or cause was not neglected in the legislative process.  They were created based on an inequality or need that cried for alleviation, but with time, however, these groups began to resemble government agencies, whereby bureaus that could have been consolidated with others for the sake of efficiency were allowed to exist alongside similar departments which did more or less identical work.  Networking is still a fairly foreign concept to many of the myriad of entities that compromise the Democratic party and help set its agenda.  How we think influences how we govern and how we seek to influence that which governs.  Though the current model may have had its place once, the time has come to modify our thinking and with it our strategy.  Focusing too heavily on where we are not alike rather than how we are alike is, arguably, what led to the decline of the party post-Carter and contributed to the 1994 election debacle.  

I wrote a post over the weekend which touched some nerves.  In it, I discussed the way our that own fundamental structure as liberals makes getting us on the same page an exercise akin to herding cats.  One of the comments left was something to the effect of “I’m a Progressive and no one tells me what to do.”  Fair enough, except that I wasn’t suggesting that the person in question (or anyone, really) follow blindly behind any cause or personality.  What I was, however, arguing is that we can’t always isolate ourselves in our own identity group and assume that its concerns are of paramount concern to the whole.  Until we identify as Democrats first and other identities later, we’ll always have unintentionally split allegiances.  Any group established for originally altruistic means quickly becomes obsessed with justifying its own existence and in so doing losing sight of the original intent.  A common thread runs through so many organizations and it goes well beyond a simple label of “Progressivism”.  The most successful educational strategies link together a variety of subjects and show students how each is interconnected.  This is where true learning begins and this might also be the point at which true unity is allowed to thrive.    

I don’t believe in groupthink and I certainly don’t believe in playing follow-the-leader, but I do know that it is certainly easier when waste and superfluity is trimmed away.  I do also know that if everyone had been on the same wavelength before Stupak, then women’s rights wouldn’t have been so easily bartered away for the sake of a narrow victory.  If we truly lived our gospel of multiculturalism and plurality, then human rights would mean more than just the latest atrocity perpetrated in a nation far, far away.  If we practiced what we preached, there wouldn’t be a need for the Gay District, since LGBTs would live boringly normal lives right next door to us.  If we took up the cause of intersectionality, there would be no others who are not like us in some way, shape, or fashion.  While I am writing on this particular topic, I am reminded of a woman who is a contributing editor to a Feminist site I regularly visit; she uses this quote as her e-mail signature:

“Engrave this upon your heart: there isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you heard their story.” –Mary Lou Kownacki    

Decry it as na├»ve optimism if you wish, but post-partisanship, if we have not thrown it upon the dungheap of history quite yet, begins with this simple statement.  That which separates us is often artifice, over-reaching, or over-compensation.  One President micromanages the Health Care debate, which fails miserably.  Another President puts Congress in control, failing to understand that he is capable of keeping bickering legislators in line without seeming dictatorial.  We are our own worst enemy, far too often.  Arguably we regained both chambers of Congress due to a GOP that had been remarkably good at shooting itself in the foot, if not other members.  One wonders what will be our strategy in 2010 besides praying that the economic data and unemployment numbers improve drastically and that the Health Care reform bill passes.  How will we learn from four years of mixed results?  I can guarantee that the existing framework and system is no viable solution.  We know what we are not, now it’s time to determine that which we are.  

Playing For Change: Album Release

Songs Around The World CD/DVD In Stores Now!!

Introduction:

 

A Place to Visit for ‘PEACE’ while in DC for Inauguration

While those of you attending the Inauguration may be staying over for a few days, either before or after, you may find this a restful and enlightening venue to stop in and visit.

1/1-31 Georgetown: The Peace Mural, the unbelievable 2,000 paintings exhibition of art on war, peace, and torture that the Vietnamese-American artist Huong has on display in a 10,000 square foot gallery on M Street in Georgetown: Peace Mural Foundation

GOP Campaign Themes

These people have No Self Worth, I’m talking about those that just hang to this imaginary, once proud, Republican Tag. Even still calling themselves Conservative!

They allow themselves to be led around like the robots they’ve become, and frankly some on the Democratic side are just as willing, but the fall into line and march in lockstep Falls Souly on the GOP!

They’ve been Silent and Accepting of the Lies that led our Troops into Occupations and All that has come about because of that, the torturing, the no-bid contracts, the corruption, the deaths and maiming’ s…………………………………………, and oh so much more!

They’ve been Silent and Accepting as our Freedoms have been slowly stripped away, and Accepting of Rule by Executive Branch Alone ignoring the fact they have hired others to Represent Them!

Nobel Peace Prize

Nominate Pete Seeger for the Nobel Peace Prize

THE PETITION

Pete Seeger has been an ambassador for Peace and Social Justice over the course of his 87 year lifetime. As a prominent musician his songs, messages and performance style have worked to engage other people, particularly the youth, in causes to end the Vietnam war, ban nuclear weapons, work for international solidarity, and ecological responsibility. It is time that a cultural worker receives the recognition that this work has great influence and global reach, that it is not only a medium of entertainment but of education, compassion and action.

DESIRED OUTCOME

To persuade American Friends Service Committee to enter Pete Seeger as their nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize 2008

WHO WE NEED TO INFLUENCE

The Nobel Prize Committee of the Norwegian Parliament

HOW LONG WILL WE CAMPAIGN

As long as it takes

Friday Philosophy: A Letter and a Response

On Tuesday I received a letter from a former student at the University of Central Arkansas, where I transitioned from 1992 until 1994 and where I taught for six more years after that.  From time to time, people from that spacetime contact me.  There are other people at Daily Kos who have been faculty or students at UCA.  The memories of there/then are bittersweet.

It took several days for me to formulate a response.  I’d like to say that I was just too busy to write back immediately since it was Finals Week here at Bloomfield.  

The truth is rather that it was too difficult to come up with any quick response…and that the letter deserved a more thoughtful response than what I could immediately come up with.

I’m not even sure if the response I finally came up with is appropriate or sufficient.  But it is what I have.