I was semi-thrilled to hear that congress finally trashed DADT. It should have been done a very long time ago, but I suppose a dream differed, once realized, is still a dream realized...it just feels a little deflated somehow.
In part, it was difficult to be as excited about it because on the same day that they trashed that archaic standard, they reinforced another crushing the dreams of many other people by crushing the DREAM act. So, it would seem that for congress it is finally OK to openly be gay in the military, but it is not OK to dream - at least not if you weren't born in the US.
I'm not really sure how we arrived here as a nation. We are a nation comprised not only of immigrants who came here seeking a better life, but also of people forced to come here. How odd is it that children who had no choice in coming here, children of parents seeking a better life, have just been told, "It was good enough for us, but not for you"?
I'll admit to being a bit more disgusted with this outcome because it is Christmas time. Have we learned nothing from that child, born in a manger? In the birth of Jesus, God announced to the world that human expectations were of little to no importance to God; that human boundaries were merely walls that come tumbling down in the presence of the Divine; that God officially favors the marginalized over kings.
Have we learned nothing? Jesus brought to the marginalized, to the stranger from another land, to those who were down and out, a message of hope, a reason to dream dreams. The congress of the US brings with them the opposite. They crush dreams. In their defeat of the DREAM act, they have allowed a message of marginalization to burst in on the hopeful dreams of many. Children brought to this land through the actions of others, children who really know no other life than the one of opportunity in the U.S., are being told by our elected leaders that this nation not only does not want them, but we don't care about them. Have we learned nothing from that child, born in a manger?
To all of those who will suffer from this choice, I'd like say, "I am deeply and profoundly sorry." I'd like to say that like you and like Martin Luther King, Jr., "I still have a dream that one day in this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of it's creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [sic] are created equal.'" I recognize that I dream that dream from a place of privilege, but I pledge to use that privilege not for the sake of dominance, but rather for the sake of equality.
It is sad to say that this Christmas Congress has stolen away with the dreams of so many, like the Grinch taking the last Christmas bauble in Whoville. For far too many this year, Christmas will be a time of easy identification with the baby born in a manger. For you see, we have told them there is no room at the Inn of the US. We have pushed them, yet again, to the margins of society and our government has taken on the roll of old King Herod eager to crush the hopes of a people, insuring that their children do not dream dreams.
All the while, the baby cries in a manger. He cries out for the least of these, the underserved, the marginalized. He cries out for their oppressors. He cries out for you, for me, for our nation and for it's future.
Mark from The God Article and Zac from Crazy Liberals and Conservatives are back with a discussion of Consumerism and Christmas, the Political Atmosphere in 2010, and a challenge to see God's Divine Gift everyday.
I'm a Sci-Fi /Superhero geek. Sorry. Currently, one of my favorite shows is "Smallville," which is about the life and times of Clark Kent as he grows into a man and into being Superman.
Right now, we are in the final season and Superman still can't fly
! You know, the "Look! Up in the air. It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Superman!" Superman? That Superman can't fly. Yet, somehow he still manages to take out the evil doers by the end of each episode. Turns out flying isn't the only thing at which he is super. Go figure.
Along with a few other nifty super powers, Clark Kent also has a heart three times the size of a human. (OK, I may have made that up or managed to confuse the Superman story with the Grinch...but you get the point: Clark has an enormous heart; he's a very good person seeking the best in every situation).
So, Superman can't fly. So what? Barrak Obama, is suffering from his inability to fly. Yes, our Superman is only pretty super and, in the end, human. Let's face it, he has not performed the super human feats we expected: health care for all, instant repeal of DADT, a robust economy... a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage...and, and cake for everyone!!
Seriously, did we really think that we could slam the car out of 'R' and speed forward in 'D' at 90 mph? Of course not. The engine wouldn't take it. Not to mention the fact that the evil Doctor 'No' (yes, I know I'm mixing my superhero metaphors), otherwise known as most of the Republican party, had hooked up a Kryptonite chain under the rear axil so that moving forward would yank out the whole drive shaft (again, it's a metaphor, it doesn't have to be mechanically possible - 'kay?)
So, Superman can't fly. So, what?
- He's done what no other President before him could do; he passed a heath care reform act.
- He's re-envisioned how the White House communicates with the people by doing things from blogging to live streaming a surprising number of White House events.
- He's made education more affordable with things like a $2500 tax credit for those attending college. (I should mention this is a less than surprising priority for someone graduating 2nd in his class at Harvard).
- He doubled the amount awarded for the Pell Grant.
- He signed the Jobs Bill which saves the jobs of about 300,000 teachers.
- By engaging the Muslim world, in just a few short years, he has dramatically and positively effected that faith's opinion of the U.S.
- He has put in an office of Urban Policy in the White house and his administration has pumped 2 billion dollars into anti-gang effort (money that the Bush administration had taken away).
- He has ordered and begun withdrawing troops from a war in which we should have never been.
- At the same time, he has ordered and increase in pay for members of the military.
- He has removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research opening up the door to a number of heath care advancements.
- He's insured that 4 million children, who previously had no healthcare coverage are now covered.
- He prevented much of the auto-industry from crashing (bad pun, sorry) and in doing so saved millions of job and (as it turns out) made money for the government in the process.
- He ended a policy that gave tax breaks to American corporations that outsourced jobs.
- He appointed the first Latina to the Supreme Court.
- He is the first sitting U.S. president to preside over a meeting at the United Nations Security Council.
- Oh, and he won The Nobel Peace prize.
He did it all in two years...WHILE Doctor 'No' was pulling in the opposite direction the whole time by constantly shutting down Congress with evil and nefarious games.
So sure, Superman has heat vision, runs faster than a speeding bullet and can leap over tall buildings in a single bound, but let's lambast him for not being able to fly. Makes perfect sense.
Just keep this in mind, Obama has the heart for the job and it turns out flying isn't the only thing at which he is super. We probably need to put a little more faith into our heroes and trust that they are doing that which is possible rather than getting hung up on whether or not they are flying.
I continue to be beyond frustrated with the “leadership” in Congress. Ultimately, the failure to do anything but help the rich and pat the poor on the head with programs designed to appease them much more than to provide any meaningful assistance, can be blamed on both sides. The Democrats can be blamed for sometimes being complicit in the actions and other times simply not having enough political backbone to stand up the the Republicans. The Republicans can be blamed for consistently favoring their rich benefactors over the majority of their supporters and constituents who fall into the working class which continues to become (thanks in part to Congress) a poorer and poorer class.
You have to admire the Republicans (in a perverse “hate what you do but admire how well you do it” sort of way) for how consistently they have pulled off their game. They are running both the short and the long con. For decades now, they have been working diligently to wedge the classes further apart. At first I thought they we doing it by decreasing the size of the middle class, increasing the size of the lower class and strengthening both the resolve and power of the upper class via rules and regulations (or lack thereof) designed to achieve said results.
More recently, I've begun to think I completely missed the boat. While it is true that in the US the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, the most important statistic is that the gap between the top 1%, in terms of wealth, and the rest of us is as bad as it is has been in 90 years. The top 1% of the US have almost 39% of the wealth in the US. And a full 50% of our population own only 2.5% of the over all wealth. (All data above and below is from The Institute on Policy Study
Change the measurement to stocks, bonds and mutual funds and that percent shifts to a whopping 51% of the wealth being owned by the top 1%. Expand that 1% to the top 10% and 90% (no, that is no a typo) of what I'll call the “Wall Street Wealth” is owned by them. Anyone still wondering why there was a Wall Street bailout and not a Main Street bailout?
It's not that the Republicans are trying to decrease the size of the middle class. They are trying to widen the gap between the wealthy and the middle class effectively reducing the middle class to a working class poor by comparison to the wealthy. I might add that they are rather successfully doing so.
While the top 1% have seen their share of capital income increase by nearly 20% over the last twenty years, the bottom 80% have seen theirs fall by almost 15%. CEO's income has risen 300% in that time. Corporate profits have increased by 106%... and worker's pay has increased a measly 4.3%. You have to hand it to the Republicans – they are good at this.
What is surprising is how well they play the working middle class. A surprisingly high number of that group of people are some of the stanchest supporters of Republicans. The Republicans are playing a long con here, making promises and appearing one way while working as hard as they know how to achieve results that rip off their strongest supporters. All the while, their actions tell the tale saying to those not in the top 10%, “get your own.”
Recent battles on the hill should be more than enough to pull the curtain back to reveal congressional Republican's real motivation, as they work hard to stop Obamacare, stop extending unemployment checks and, at the same time, extend tax cuts to the wealthiest 1%. While they do, they wrap themselves in the flag, shout things like “down with socialism” and “no taxes,” in an attempt to endear themselves to middle class America. All the while, they are working to install a plutocracy operating under the false front of a democracy in America... and they are doing it in God's name.
And that's where we should ultimately see thorough their ruse most clearly. Adopting Christian precepts to support stepping on the least of these, to intentionally marginalize part of a society, to relegate a particular segment of a population to a place where they struggle to maintain good health, shelter and food while a small percentage of the elite dine of the backs of the least of these... well, that should be a con that just won't sell.
My question is, when is the Church going to do something about it? My question is, when are you, when am I, when are we going to do something about it? We have the numbers, just not the money. We still live in a democracy (for now). When are we going to do something about it?
(UPDATE: More on this from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) - Bravo Sen. Sanders!!)