Tuesday, August 30, 2011
We often forget about the God of the Flood. He kicked butt, took names and brought the pain. He did not like coveting and cared about people right down to their ass and their ox.
I met Old Testament God (OTG) at a Starbucks in Century City. He was turning heads as usual, mostly because he had just turned a banker into a pillar of salt.
GARY: So, what did that banker do?
OTG: He cut the line. Also, I hate bankers.
GARY: Let's start there. How can God hate?
OTG: All this loving benevolent stuff was man's invention. Read my book. Wrath, fire, death that's how I roll.
GARY: Yes, so why did you change?
OTG: Why does any Father change? I had kids.
GARY: Yes, Jesus. Thanks, by the way.
OTG: No problem. He's a good boy. After you guys crucified him, he talked me out of destroying the world. (LAUGHS) The things you do for your kids. So, I decided that maybe I should follow his example and spread love.
GARY: It's not going so well.
OTG: Tell me about it. You people are worse than ever! We have more sin than we did in the middle ages and them dudes had the Inquisition. It's like the whole world has turned into Baltimore.
GARY: So, I hear you are coming back, I mean going back to the old testament ways.
OTG: Sorry but I have to do it. It's the only thing you people understand. We tried the love thing and look what it got us. Celebrity murderers, sex as recreation, marriage as some kind of joke and people perverting My Word and My Existence to please themselves. Makes me want to dry up the oceans and you do not want to know what's down there.
GARY: So, what are your plans?
OTG: First, I'm going to turn all the atheists into hamburgers and glasses of water. This will solve world hunger and drought problems. Then I'm going to get rid of all the distractions and vices. Sorry but smoke 'em if you got 'em because soon there won't be none.
GARY: What about sex?
OTG: Oh that's still cool as long as you get married first. If you don't, you'll be going to Hell faster than you can say debt ceiling.
GARY: What do you think about that?
OTG: Nothing. Because I just turned all the politicians into ham sandwiches two minutes ago.
GARY: So what about Gay Marriage?
OTG: Excuse me, what does the Old Testament say?
GARY: Says it's wrong but--
OTG: End of story.
GARY: But is also says slavery is cool and people should not wear mixed fibers.
OTG: Sorry but the word is the word. You don't like it, find another God, oh that's right, THERE ISN'T ONE! Hey, what's that shirt made of?
GARY: 100% cotton. So basically, the party's over?
OTG: You know it and to celebrate, I'm creating a new Commandment. This time there's only one: I AM THE LORD THY GOD. AND I AIN'T NO JOKE.
OTG: You got that right.
We Cannot Police Or Legislate Morality. So Many Crucial Decisions Have Been Left To The Will Of The Individual.
A President and his cabinet lie about the reason for war. An author makes up his biography. Athletes use drugs to perform better and teachers cheat on student's tests to get money.
In each case, we relied upon the honor, nobility and heart of an individual to do the right thing. In our life the Honor System has been the foundation of day to day life. We do our own taxes, check out our own groceries and are asked to only take one mint from the bowl at a restaurant.
An honor system or honesty system is a philosophical way of running a variety of endeavors based on trust, honor, and honesty. Something that operates under the rule of the "honor system" is usually something that does not have strictly enforced rules governing its principles.
For years this worked because there were more honorable people than dishonorable ones. So we always had cheats and liars but the good outbalanced them every time. America fought off its enemies and survived a civil war. We plunged into the Industrial Revolution and changed the way the world lived.
From the mid 20th century to the end, the notion that it's okay to cheat, lie and steal in some cases became pervasive in our society. We began to worship heroes who bent the law, and subverted societal convention. And as long as they got paid for it, we forgave them.
Don't get me wrong. I do not hold people to a standard of perfection. Humanity is a delicate mix but what has built civilization is not just intellect but humanity and compassion and without those last two elements, civilization crumbles. Man has always been more good than not and that has kept us from destroying ourselves time and time again. But if you think we have lost our way, if you believe that something is rancid in our culture, you have to look no further than what you tolerate. No system of government or society can be held together by a corrupt people because:
Where there is no honor, there is no system.
So teachers cheat, politicians lie and someone empties the mint bowl at the restaurant. And our respons is
"Damn, he beat me to it!" And when there is outrage, it is only because we want to hold someone else to the honor system so we may defeat them by using our own dishonor.
And i know you think this is all nothing new. You're wrong. America has never had this level of casual acceptance of bad behavior. We have always struggled with our conscience but only now do we teach our children the art and benefit of being an asshole.
When he was in high school, my son found a $100 bill and turned it in to the school administrator, a priest. The Administrator was so overwhelmed at the act, that he wrote us a letter praising us for teaching out son the value of honor. As a parent I am proud of course but when I look at our society I wonder if I am doing a disservice. Am I sending a lamb to a slaughterhouse filled with men and women who look a nobility as weakness?
Since the beginning of the world, people have speculated about the end of it. We always picture explosions, disease, war and violence. I think that the end, if it comes, will be quiet, soft and almost unnoticed. It will be when there are more dishonest people than not. This will tip the balance, break the system and that's all she wrote.
I would certainly like to know what you think. I have just one requirement:
There Is One Aspect Of The Obama Presidency That Could Never Fail And All He Had To Do Was Show Up.
A little boy walks along the beach and comes upon two men. Both men are holding a large rock that is protruding from the earth. The boy asks the first man what he's doing and the man says: "Isn't it obvious? I'm holding this rock." The boy asks the second man the same question. The second man responds: "Isn't it obvious? I am holding the world and this is the handle."
Perspective is the truth of its possessor.
Since Watergate, every elected President has been subjected to political and personal attacks that are designed to hobble, humiliate and destroy. Bob Woodward points this out in Shadow : Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate.
So when Obama was elected, I thought there is one thing for sure that will be good. America will finally see how deep and hard-wired racial bias is in our country and in our hearts.
And so Obama got push-back and ridicule like other Presidents but they were all too often wrapped in ugly and familiar racial insults and imagery. We witnessed people send out racist cartoons, draw monkeys with bullet holes in their heads and indulge in vile, ignorant, demeaning and dehumanizing statements we had hoped were gone forever, like the term tar baby recently used by a congressman to describe the President. Or Pat Buchannan's ignorant statement that "your boy Obama got whipped".
For some, this was politics as usual. But for others, black and white, it was an eruption of racial hatred against blacks, a long and abiding resentment of the people who embody the unrepented sin of slavery.
I guess it all depends on which rock you're holding.
I prefer to hold the rock which is the handle to the world because it offers a clear vision of the truth: that the molecules of race are scattered throughout the body of our nation and they are born of blood, death, sex, triumph and inhumanity. And part of our continuing problem, is that often none of us can tell a bad molecule from a harmless one.
Race is so embedded in our culture that over time, many words, phrases and idioms have been covered by tradition or usage and their negative pasts forgotten. If you ever heard some one call coffee a Cup of Joe, or been on a picnic. or ever referred to something as mumbo jumbo then you have brushed against it.
And so the insults continue and while well-meaning people are outraged, others just issue dishonest apologies and the media uses it to provoke and get ratings.
The last generation of men and women who really believe in the fallacy of racial inferiority are dying off. And while their sons and daughters may have a milder version of the same sickness, they at least know they are wrong and that is the beginning of enlightenment.
People always disagree with me about this. They don't want to believe that we can change. But it's because they haven't. Blacks and whites seek to move beyond race but desperately cling to it because we have in part defined ourselves by it. True equality means there is no racial priviledge. It also means there are no victims, just the circumstance of humanity and fate.
In the next two generations, we will find a true humanity emerge which will be the real start of Dr. King's coloblind society.
Because of Obama's Presidency, Ellison's legendary Invisible Man can now be seen and he is a man in full, a man of flesh and blood and mind. And the reality of his existence cannot be undone by words, or the silent resentment of hateful hearts.
Understanding this is the rock, that is the handle, that can lift the world.
It's time The Independents Stood Up. We Are 40% Of The Electorate And 100% Of The Non-Kool Aid Drinkers.
I like political trouble-makers. They shake things up while other cower in fear of reprisal. Our government officials have grown arrogant, complacent and greedy. They act as if if We The People has been changed to "We The Suckers."
Independents have decided every election since there were elections. Indys of all religions and races don't like political parties and vote for character, leadership and vision. Unfortunately, politicians have learned to fake those things and when they get into office, they hire Wall Street to run the government.
I am officially forming the Sweet Tea Party. Named after the beverage made popular by southerners. We are an organization of logical, reasonable people who want our government to work. We are patriots and we don't suscribe to ideologies, we just want shit to work and people to be free.
For example, if you are pro life and yet you believe weed should be legal. You're a Sweet Tea-er. If you are for gay marriage but think businesses are taxes too high. Join up.
Reasonable people do not hold the same ideological view on everything. Crazy people do. It is the hope of the failed two party system that we will agree with a ideological agenda instead of a logical one.
Some come on Sweet Tea-ers join up. Here are some of our ideas:
1. No Party affiliation.
2. Reason over ideology.
3. Never vote for personality over intellIgence.
4. No bias of any kind.
5. Abolish the Federal Reserve
6. End lobbying.
7. End The Electoral College.
8. End the wars.
9. Burn the tax code.
10. End reality shows.
Okay so that last one was just me maybe but still it's an impressive list of reasonable, pro-American ideas.
And lastly we'll need a motto. All the good ones like "Don't Tread On Me" and "Kiss My Grits" are taken. I propose this: The Sweet Tea Party: Vestibulum aliquam nunc at.
Roughly translated it means "We will whip your ass."