Democracy in Crisis

Democracy in Crisis

Wake up, America! Our democracy is in a state of crisis!

The news has reported that our elected officials have had people arrested for asking them questions about policy. There have been people jailed for free speech. There have been two people fired for investigating the ties between Russia and the current administration. There have been members of the current administration who claim that it is wrong to question the actions of the president or any elected or appointed leader of our country. There have been threats against reporters and other members of the media who question or comment on the wrongdoings of the current administration.

This is not how a democracy is supposed to work, but rather it’s how dictatorships work. The United States of America is not a dictatorship!

It is time, past time actually, that We, the People of the United States of America, for us to rise up and protest in a persistent, peaceful manner to get answers to the questions that are not being answered. We know that Russia tampered with the last election in order to get their preferred candidate into office. There is no longer any doubt about that. However, how deep does the deception of our last election run? That hasn’t been answered and, if the current administration has its way, it will not be answered.

If the current administration is innocent, why are the constantly trying to keep an investigation from occurring? Anyone with an ounce of common sense would realize that the fastest way to clear any doubt is to have an independent and thorough investigation that brings out the truth. Yet, every time an investigation gets close to revealing that truth, the current administration acts in such a way as to stop or delay the outcome of the investigation.

That simply smacks of illegal collusion and treasonous actions on their part!

To put it more simply, if innocent of any wrongdoing, then let an independent investigation be done to prove it. It is obvious through all the delays and mis-directions being given that there is guilt. That guilt does nothing but disgrace our country and, with it, the current administration.

Elected officials are supposed to represent us, whether we voted for them or not. In their refusal to listen to the will of the People, they are in dereliction of their duty to serve us! We must not allow them to continue to ignore us. We must demand justice and demand it now! The time for complacency is long past. Now, is the time for action from the People!

I will never advocate for violence, as I feel it is the absolute last resort of a civilized society to use violence as the means to an end. We are a democracy where civilized discussion of the issues should be encouraged and exhausted before any thought of an uprising should even be remotely considered. Yet, we are seeing our rights being torn from us by people who have lost sight of who they represent. If our elected officials no longer represent us, then we need to demand that they do or remove them from office as provided within our rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States of America.

No one in our country is above the law! Not the President, not Congress, and not any elected official. I have heard and read comments from people outside of our country who cannot fathom why we are not actively protesting in the streets daily about the actions of our leaders. It is unfathomable that so many of us are sitting around in complacency while our rights are being stripped away, while our elected officials act in ways contrary to what is best for ourselves and our fellow countrymen, while there is action taken against our fellow humankind, and while there is proof that a foreign power has stolen our highest elected office. They cannot understand why we do not act.

Have we become so lazy to allow our elected officials to run roughshod against us?

Have we become so self-absorbed that as long as it does not affect us personally that we are willing to sit by idly and, therefore, become accomplices in the wrongs that are being perpetrated?

Have we become so ignorant that we refuse to seek the truth and rather believe whatever we hear without question?

Dammit, America, wake up before it’s too late!

We must act NOW!

We must Stand Up and be Heard!

We cannot afford to let the people elected to office simply do so without our input and if they act in contrary to what we want, to not demand they change or be removed from office!

It’s never inappropriate for reporters or even citizens to ask for answers and get them from our elected officials!

Our country was founded upon the belief that government should be of, by, and for the People!

Our Democracy is in Crisis and it is time for us to work together to get it out of that state of being. If we do not, then we are guilty of its demise and, with it, our own demise.

For the sake of all that is good and decent, please Wake up and take action to save our country Now!

Never Forget–Never Let It Happen Again

Today, January 27, 2017, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day was established on November 1, 2005, to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. It is also the day in 1945 when the Auschwitz-Birkenau death/concentration camp was liberated. Over 6 million Jewish, 2 million Romani, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled, and 9,000 homosexual men (Wikipedia) died as the result of the Holocaust.

Some of you may be saying, “Gee, thanks for the history lesson. What does this have to do with me here in the 21st Century?”

It has everything to do with you.

The common phrase associated with the Holocaust is Never Forget. That phrase is more than just some catchy advertising campaign. Never Forget is what those who survived the Holocaust tell us because they not only want us to never forget what happened to the millions of people under the savage reign of the Nazis, but they want us to make certain it never happens again. Unfortunately, it has in places like Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

It happens when groups of people are set apart as being the cause of problems from loss of jobs to terrorism. We hear it today from the current incumbent of the White House who calls Mexican people “criminals” and “rapists” and “killers”. He blames violent crimes on Blacks and Hispanics. He’s called for a ban on Muslims. He’s signed executive orders to ban Muslims from immigrating and to build a wall to keep Mexicans out. He has also taken action that would be detrimental to the LGBTQIA community. His words are reflected in the actions of his supporters who go on the attack against these groups of people and some of whom, frighteningly enough, also fly the flag of the Nazis or engage in the salute of that same group.

Never Forget also means to never let it happen again. If we never let it happen again to the Jewish people or to any other group that is discriminated against, that honors the victims of the Holocaust. No group of people should face those horrors again.

The numbers of Holocaust survivors are dwindling as that population ages. Their call to us should never cease, even when the last survivor dies.

We must act against prejudice and violence against marginalized people!

We must STAND UP to those who bully, threaten, or attack marginalized people!

We must act against laws that discriminate against other people!

Now is not the time to simply Never Forget, but it is a time to ACT against future atrocities!

Even if it doesn’t personally affect you now, there’s nothing to say it will not affect you or someone you love in the future. Therefore, STAND UP and ACT UP against prejudice and violence wherever you encounter it. Whether it is contacting your elected officials or marching in the streets, it is up to US to Never Forget and NEVER let it happen again.

Be Prepared To Save America

The country, as we know it, will change dramatically come January 20, 2017. As such, we must be prepared. Already, there are rumblings from the GOP to gut the Affordable Care Act. They already attempted to undermine oversight of the House, but enough Americans stopped them through calls, emails, and letters. Don’t think for a minute that they’ll stop trying to pull midnight shenanigans or hidden attacks on those they deem as “enemies”.

We have already seen that the incoming person to the Oval Office has chosen to cozy up to a foreign government. Heck, even members of his party have done so with impunity. It seems the threat to our democracy will be from within as well as from outside in the coming years. This is why we must stay vigilant. We cannot allow our country to be taken over by a puppet president who answers to a foreign power and ignores his own intelligence agencies.

Here’s how I look at the next 4 years in the US as far as it comes to what we need to do to protect ALL Americans.

1. Make certain you have all the contact information for your politicians from the local level all the way up to the top (or down to the bottom if they’re GOP or Orange Sauron). Use that information to write/call/email/tweet your views and demand to be heard.

2. Keep a file of their pledges and promises and things they say or do and call them out if they screw up or praise them if they do what’s best for ALL Americans. (Use all your information from #1 and social media to do this).

3. Get or stay active, including informed, on all issues from local to state to national. Be heard!

4. Support candidates who will champion ALL Americans and not just a few.

5. When voting occurs, vote. If you don’t vote, you can complain, but you’re part of the problem if you don’t vote.

6. Orange Sauron DOES NOT have a mandate. The GOP does not have a mandate. He LOST the popular vote by 2.8 million votes! Remind him and others of that. If it wasn’t for the Electoral College, he’d not be there. Hold him accountable for special interests and his mouth/tweets.

7. Stand up against ALL forms of prejudice! Do this however you are able. March, hand out pamphlets, call, write, be there for someone who feels threatened, donate to causes, just do something. If not, you’re part of the problem.

Again, stand up and speak up for what is good. Don’t allow prejudices against others for whatever excuses they make to prevail. We are better than that as a country. There is no room for fear or hatred in the US.

Thank youE

The Problem of Walls and Weapons

The tragedy in Paris, as well as Kenya and Lebanon, should send reminders of the fragility of human life in our modern age. Instead, it is fostering a growth in a continued movement for nations to erect walls and allow more weapons to be used to separate and kill people who are not like “us”. Think about that for a moment and consider the following.

More weapons will not stop atrocities like the events in Paris, Kenya, or Lebanon from occurring. A common message sent out from certain aspects of society, particularly in the United States, tries to state that had there been more guns in the hands of the innocent people in Paris, then the atrocity would not have occurred. They state this somehow believing it as solid fact. However, one cannot know if that is true or not. While there might have been fewer people killed, there also could have been may more killed in a crossfire between those who committed the atrocity and those who were trying to defend themselves. In addition, it is alleged that those who committed this heinous act were also prepared to die at all cost, including the use of suicide bombs as what happened near the stadium. I doubt more firearms could have stopped the bombers from committing their horrendous acts.

Then there is the call for walls to be built, either literally or figuratively, to keep out immigrants and refugees because it is currently assumed that one or more of the terrorists carried passports from Syria, the homeland of the majority of those same refugees. While it is horrible that this may be the case, what about the thousands more who are not the aggressors, but the victims of the aggressors? There are thousands of people who are fleeing for their lives from the violence caused by ISIL/ISIS. The majority of them are simply trying to survive, not flee to the West to commit violent acts.

Besides, walls don’t work to keep people, good or bad, out. If someone wants to get around a wall, he or she will find a way to do so. Centuries ago, China built a wall to keep out aggressors. It was breached. Each day, hundreds of people cross the walls and boundaries of countries as they seek a better life. Some remain, and some are deported back to where they came.

But there are other walls that become built that are unseen. These are the walls that separate people in a more social sense than a physical one. One wall is prejudice and the other is fear. These two walls are ones that are sometimes insurmountable, not because of their size, but because of how people latch onto them with such fervor. These unseen walls cause us to place barriers between one another. Sometimes, these walls are in the form of words we use to label large groups of people as being bad based on the actions of a few people who look like the group or happen to worship using the same terms as that group does.

Right now, it happens to be Muslims who are being portrayed by media and certain elements of society as being nothing but bad people. They are called terrorists as a whole based on the actions of an extreme few of those who hide behind what is a peaceful religion. The vast majority of Muslims want nothing but to live in harmony within their communities as well as those places where they live among non-Muslims. The majority feels the need to pay for the sins of the few as they are pressured to speak out against acts of terror or be seen as supporting it. Yet, if people from a different religious background commit an atrocity, the innocent of those backgrounds are not pressured to speak out. If a Christian person commits an atrocity, there is no call for all Christians to speak out against it. If a Jewish person commits an atrocity, there is not call for all Jewish people to speak out against it. Only the Muslims. Yet, there are some who continue to say that if they don’t, then they are guilty of the supporting the crimes committed by the few.

The problem is not with religion, it is with people in general. The problem is not with needing more walls, but needing fewer ones.

That’s right, I said fewer walls to separate people. The walls of ignorance, fear, hate, oppression, poverty, war, and famine need to be torn down. In their place, we need to build one thing up above all else. We need to build up our fellow humankind. We need to end wars, and start spreading peace. We need to replace hate with love. We need to eradicate poverty and build plenty. We need to educate others so they may have what they need, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

A recent article I read was one where the interviewer had the rare opportunity to speak with ISIS prisoners of war in Iraq. The vast majority of those who were interviewed did not join ISIS for religious reasons, but for economic and emotional ones. They were starving and this terrorist organization promised them a way out. The terrorist organization gave them someone to blame for their problems, in this case, the West. While some of that is true since, while many of these people’s lives were bad under Saddam Hussein in Iraq, their lives became worse once he was deposed as civil war broke out in their country based on centuries old hatreds. Some joined out of fear that if they didn’t, then they and their families would die.

As I read the article, something occurred to me. The reason why many of these people joined was similar to why people join street gangs. Some fear that if they don’t, then they will die. Others do it as gang life promises them a sense of belonging and/or prosperity. Some join because they are so far in poverty that they need someone to blame and the gang tells them who to blame for their situation. This is not unlike those who voluntarily joined the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. It is not unlike those who joined the Ku Klux Klan in the post-Civil War South. It is not unlike those who join militia groups in modern society or other fringe, hate-filled groups. The majority of people who do so are looking for more in their life in some way and the gang persuades them that gang life is the way they can have or be more than who they are.

There needs to be an alternative to this lifestyle to make it stop. Rather than waging war in countries against people, there needs to be a fight for better living conditions. A fight for jobs. A fight for equality for all people regardless of who he or she is or what he or she believes. There needs to be education for all people to understand different cultures and religions as find common ground between them rather than what is different about them. Education is a powerful weapon against hate, fear, and violence. When humankind understands differences, then it becomes harder to fear or hate them. Instead, there becomes a natural instinct to try to see the similarities. But this only occurs with the chance to learn about our differences in a non-biased fashion. It comes with knowing who we are as individuals and facing our fears, prejudices, and ignorances, acknowledging them, and going beyond them to build understanding.

None of this means we have to like the way others are. It doesn’t mean we have to become like who others are. It does mean we must respect our differences and embrace our similarities. We must learn to love one another, whether we like them or not. For some people, this is seen as being too politically correct, as if that is a bad thing. However, it is actually being more humane to our fellow humankind.

Will this end all the problems instantly? No, there is no quick fix as many hope. It took time to build the walls, it will take time to tear them down as well. But it’s worth it.

The late Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This rings so true for our world today. Peace can only come through light, never darkness. Hope can only thrive where all humankind sees one another as one rather than as many.

The Fake War On Christianity–LGBT edition

The Fake War on Christianity

Conservative county clerks violating federal law as they refuse to issue marriage licenses for same sex couples because they way it goes against their religious beliefs to do so.

Bakeries refusing to bake cakes and florists refusing to provide flowers for same sex couples stating that to do so violates their free exercise of religion.

These have a common thread in that they all point to rhetoric that there is a war on Christianity being waged. There is no war on Christianity. What these people who refuse to do their jobs are really doing is using faith as a shield for their own ignorance and prejudices. Ironically, these same people likely see ISIS as being evil, yet they advocate a world very similar to that which ISIS wants except one hides behind Christianity and the other behind Islam.

The bastardization of a religion for use as a shield of prejudice has gone on for hundreds of years. In more recent history, it has been seen in groups such as the KKK and Nazis who claimed to be faithful Christians and used religion to justify their hate. Now, rather than just having these larger organizations, and others like them, at the forefront, there are individuals who do so. When confronted in their hate or ignorance or both, these individuals then run behind the guise of religion and say that they don’t hate anyone, but their faith calls upon them to condemn others.

Some, like a county clerk in Kentucky, go as far to say “’I think that this is a war on Christianity, I think same-sex marriage just simply brought it to the surface, but it is a war on Christianity’” (http://freakoutnation.com/2015/08/kentucky-clerk-its-my-job-to-tell-gays-theyre-going-to-hell/). He even went on to say he believes the Creator placed him on earth to tell others “’…there is a higher power that we need to answer to, and it’s not people who wear black robes, it’s the one who wears the white robe’”(http://freakoutnation.com/2015/08/kentucky-clerk-its-my-job-to-tell-gays-theyre-going-to-hell/).

Personally, I think the only white robed fellow this individual truly knows are those who are in the KKK.

Jesus said nothing about homosexuality in his lifetime. There is nothing in his speeches or conversations as far as we can know from scripture that says he had anything negative to say about homosexuality. He did, however, have a great deal to say about love and about hypocrisy.

One verse that comes to mind is when Jesus rebuked Peter and told him, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man”(Mark 8:33). Peter was focusing on how humankind thought rather on what God’s plan might be. I believe this is how it is when people, regardless of faith, insert their own prejudices into faith for their own ends. They focus on what they think rather than what God might want.

A couple of weeks ago, I preached a sermon on the two greatest commandments—Love God, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. These two simple directives from God, reiterated by Jesus, are how Christians should live their lives. There is no judging, no hate, and no prejudice at play. Simply love. God/Allah/Yahweh, does not want us to sit in judgment of one another. For those of us who are Christian, there is no directive to judge one another. Instead, we are to love one another regardless if that other person is gay or straight, male or female, heterosexual, bisexual, transsexual, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, or whatever label our imperfect human world wants to place on another person. We are to love one another.

Perhaps this county clerk, and others like him, need to go back to those two fundamental laws and focus on them instead of their own ignorance and hate.

Peace-Salaam-Shalom

How the Democrats/Greens lost this Election and What Can Be Done to Fix It

The results of the mid-term elections were dismal for America. They were dismal for the Democrats and Greens. Let’s face it, they simply sucked harder than an F-5 tornado in Oklahoma. So, what went wrong? How in the heck did the extreme right-winger whip our collective rears and take control of both houses of Congress as well as the governorships of states? They used their usual tactics of fear, voter intimidation, and their mouthpiece, the Faux News Network. (No, I’m not saying their proper name. It might even be best if we simply give it a term used by J.K. Rowling and call it “the network that shall not be named). As Democrats and Greens, we know their tactics by now and should have been able to stop them. So, why didn’t we and, even more importantly, what can we do to fix this mess that our country is now faced with having to deal with?

First, and this is something I’ve said for years, we talk a great game, but cannot run one. If you go to most cities whether they are large or small, you find a storefront that says Republican Headquarters. It’s a year-round business for the GOP/Tea Party to stay in the public eye and force feed their rhetoric to the masses. When it comes to the Democratic Party or the Green Party, or any other party for that matter, their presence is only just prior to an election, then they disappear until just before the next election. That’s not going to cut it nor is it going to win votes. If we want to stay relevant or even become more relevant, we need to be out there all the time. 365 days a year. If we do not go away, then people cannot ignore us. We have to actively campaign at all times and in all places. We cannot rely on our old support system in the unions as they are being squeezed out by the policies of the far right. They are becoming irrelevant to today’s younger voter.

Along those same lines, we have to muster the vote. It’s not enough to have voter registration campaigns, we have to get those who registered to vote out to vote. Although I have not checked the recent numbers, I believe I heard that voter turnout was somewhere around 35-40 percent. That sucks. People do not feel it matters if they vote nor who they vote for as they feel that decisions are made by a shadow government or by corporations anyhow. We have to show them that it matters. We have to bring up what the opposition is doing and has done to undermine real American values. We don’t do that enough. Perhaps we have to physically take people to their polling location to get them out to vote. Why in the heck aren’t we doing that across the United States? We have to make certain that those who we helped to register to vote, but cannot make it to the polls, get absentee ballots and get them mailed in to cast their votes. What we fail to realize, and why we do I have no idea, is that the conservative seniors vote. They have nothing else to do, but watch the network-that-shall-not-be-named and vote, at least when their not driving around on their golf carts or taking tole painting classes. If we don’t get out the vote for every election, then we face horrible things like this last election brought upon our country.

Next, and this part might be somewhat crude, we have to become better at attacking our opposition than we have been in the past. The far right pummels the airwaves through television, radio talk shows, and the internet with their vile rhetoric. They make up stories to scare the American public into voting for them. They do this by using words such as communism, socialism, and liberal, which many people have no freaking idea what they really mean in the first place because they are not included on a standardized test. They play to the ammosexuals by saying that we will take their guns away. They play to the fundamentalists by saying that prayer and God will be taken out of our schools. (Yeah, right. If that’s the case, then two problems exist. First, is that assumes that students will not silently pray on their own. Next, is assumes that God is not omnipotent if a polticial party can cause God to not exist). Ironically, they play to the poor by fooling them into believing that trickle down economics actually works. It doesn’t. The wealthy could care less about the poor or the middle class, just so long as they do their bidding and accept their meager paycheck while paying for crap that the company now makes overseas using sweatshops and slave labor. Where is this so-called liberal media? Why isn’t there a network that is always on the attack against ultraconservative ideas and rhetoric?

Third, the Democrats (and Greens) need to define themselves more clearly against their opposition. I would hazard to guess that if you asked most voters to tell you what either of these parties stand for, then you would get a plethora of sometimes conflicting answers. The time for namby-pamby centrism is over folks. Screw the idea of compromise! The GOP sure as hell did that once they got control of the House and they sure as hell are planning to do this since they have all of Congress now in their greedy, corporate-funded hands. We need to bring out voices like Elizabeth Warren and Warren Sanders. We need to cultivate people to run for office who are able to speak well, back up their speech, and fight harder to win rather than just to make a good showing. We need candidates who will sometimes stop being so damned polite and call a liar a liar and back it up with facts and the other person’s record. Corner their asses and make them defend themselves. We need to stop kowtowing and backing down from a fight as we so often do. Yes, we want to all love in harmony with our neighbor, but sometimes dammit, we need to be more warrior like and less like doormat.

Fourth, as we have learned in this last election as well as most elections held since the 80s, we need the funds to win. As much as we might like to say that anyone can run for office and win, it’s a money game. Many good people who want to run for office simply do not have the money to afford to run for office. This includes the time they need to take off from work to campaign, the airtime they need to run advertisements, the money to pay staff, create flyers, etc. It costs a great deal to combat those who gain their funds through backroom deals with corporate executives and the ultraconservative wealthy. Rather than simply throwing our hands up and saying that the corporations and wealthy will always win, we need to build our campaign financial warchests through taking small, non-corporate donations. Heck, even having bake sales would help. Doughnuts for Democrats or Granitas for Greens, whatever it takes to get the money to compete against these corporate funded conservatives. Look at the Occupy movements as an example of how to raise awareness, get funding, and get out the vote.

Finally, we need to show that our candidates will listen to the people rather than corporations when it comes to running our country. We have people out of work. We have people homeless. We have people who are hurting in so many ways. We need to listen and act to help them in real, concrete ways rather than just talk about it or form a committee to look into it. America needs action rather than inaction. America needs real compassion for one another on so many levels. We see this occur in small ways already, such as soup kitchens and food pantries run by churches and civic organizations. We see it in neighbors reaching out to each other in times of crisis. We need politicians who do this daily rather than just during campaign seasons. We need people who are not career politicians nor lawyers running our country. We need teachers, bricklayers, cab drivers, garbage collectors, anyone who feels it is their civic duty to represent everyone that the office they wish to full will represent to be able to run for an win office. We need to then hold them accountable to do just that and not be afraid to call them out if they do not and demand why they did not. We need to ask our questions and get real answers rather than settling for political rhetoric and feel good statements.

We can take America back, I hope. We can still salavage what may be left of our country after this past election. We cannot trust those recently elected to the majority to do this as they will continue to be beholden to their corporate string holders.

Wake the freak up Democrats and Greens! Take a day to lick your wounds, then fight like hell to save our country!

Borders and Boxes

Thousands of children from Central America are flooding the southern part of the United States on a daily basis at this time as they search for somewhere safe from the ravages of rampant crimes, particularly drug crimes, in their homelands. As is typical for some of those who live in the United States, the call for these children to be instantly deported is loud and sometimes violent.

Turning to another part of the globe, there are refugees fleeing from the unrest in Syria and other parts of the Middle East due to everything from government troops to the rising terrorist group ISIS. Refugees here are fleeing primarily to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, but a few are going to Germany and Sweden in their search for safety. In Europe, a few countries have closed their borders to the refugees, such as Bulgaria and Spain.

Add to this the recent rising of anti-immigrant conversations from the United Kingdom as they deal with a rising Middle Eastern population, and you have yet further division among the human race.

All of this has gotten me to ponder why we require borders in the first place. Secondly, and related to this, why is it that humans feel the need to place people in boxes that categorize and subdivide ourselves from one another rather than looking for those things that make us similar? All these borders and boxes serve no real purpose than to divide humanity even further. They do not serve to bring people together as should be the desire for the sake of the human race and the future of our planet.

John Lennon, the former Beatle, once sang the words, “Imagine there’s no countries/It isn’t hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too/Imagine all the people/Living life in peace”(Imagine). I often wonder why we humans cannot strive for this as vehemently as we strive to create more weapons to destroy one another or even more boxes to subdivide ourselves from one another. There is no one thing that causes we humans to do this, of that I am certain, unless the underlying reason is fear.

That may be it. Perhaps we divide and subdivide ourselves so much because we fear having to learn about our fellow human being. As the American poet Robert Frost once wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors”(Mending Wall). Yet, if that poem is read, even it goes against the idea of borders and boxes as it states, “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know/What I was walling in or walling out/And to whom I was like to give offence” (Mending Wall). A wall would make sense if there was a good reason for it. If there were, as the poet says, cows to roam and the wall used to keep them in check. Perhaps we humans have no reason for the wall other than to repeat as the neighbor does by simply saying, “Good fences make good neighbors”(Mending Wall). We do not know why it’s there, but that it’s always been there, so it must stay there.

Some argue that the borders we have are there due to the result of military action and the truce documents saying they are located between certain coordinates. If they are there only to mark the areas where one side may venture due to a disagreement, are they not like when two children or roommates share a room and one lays down a line saying that everything on one side is theirs alone and the items on another belong only to the other person? Sounds rather childish if this is the case, doesn’t it? Rather than talk out our disagreements, we fight until we feel there are enough people dead (or, heaven forbid, the other side is annihilated), then create an invisible line to ward off the other side (again, provided anyone is left on the other side). Seems like a great waste of human potential and the opportunity to work together to create harmony rather than discord.

Others argue that these borders and boxes are needed to delineate easier governance of the people. I guess I would argue that perhaps sharing governance of ourselves might be best. Why not set basic laws for all humankind to ensure all are treated with respect and dignity? Basic ones like not killing one another, sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, reaching out to help our fellow human being when they need it, and respecting each person’s faith journey or even right not to have a set faith, but just choosing to live and let live. Yes, it makes it easier to set laws specific for a given country or state or region because no one has to talk with anyone else other than those who are set to govern that particular place. The United States does not ask Canada for permission to create a law and the opposite does not happen either. Would it not be worth it to have people talk to come up with what is good for all humanity rather than set up borders and boxes?

I can almost hear the calls of people shouting that I’m a Communist and should be watched or put away. I can even hear those questioning my sanity. Yet, maybe this was what the Christian scriptures refer to when the comment is made by Paul when he stated, “There is no longer Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”(Galatians 3:28 NRSV). If one would prefer to hear what is attributed to Jesus, then look at the passage from John 14:2,
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”(John 14:2 RSV). Given I am quoting Christian scripture; it places me not so much with Communism, but certainly within Socialism.

Who cares? It is just a box. A human formed opinion to label me in some convenient way. Does it matter? Not really, except for the person placing me in that box and others who may agree with him or her.

Divisions and subdivisions happening at a rapid rate,
Always building walls and gates.
Keeping someone out or in.
To me, it seems like such a sin
Against humanity.

Back to my opening images, though. For the thousands of children who survived the perilous journey to the United States in hope that the words on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,/I life my lamp beside the golden door”(New Colossus by Emma Lazarus), are still true; my question remains is it true? It was for our forebears, but will it be for you?

For those fleeing tyranny in hope of safety, will they find it?

For those who are caught between the rockets of Israel and Hamas, will they ever know peace?

When will we, as human beings inhabiting the 3rd planet from the Sun, spend more time trying to erasing borders and knocking down boxes instead of trying to create or build more?

One can only hope it is soon.

References:
Galatians 3:28– http://biblia.com/books/nrsv/Ga3.28
Gospel According to St. John 14:2– http://www.biblestudytools.com/john/14-2-compare.html
“Imagine”– http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnlennon/imagine.html
“Mending Wall”– http://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/frost-mending.html
“New Colossus”– http://www.libertystatepark.com/emma.htm