Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sound and Fury

My Blog turned a year old on November 20th. My readers may have noticed a sharp decline in the number of posts I write.

This is partially due to the fact that I'm applying for tenure-track teaching jobs and trying to finish my dissertation. But there is another explanation.


By that I mean that the Obama administration has made no important changes in policy. Climate change? Nothing. Health care? We shall see, but nothing much to report yet, foreign policy? More of the same. The economy? Look around you! It's no better either.

The political debates that people seem to care about are Sarah Palin and Levi Johnston, or perhaps the drama of John and Kate!

It's a sham.

I will have more posts up once the dissertation is done, but in the meantime let us hang our heads at the lack of progress of this administration and the continuing foolishness of the media.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, November 16, 2009

Faith and Health Care reform

As we get closer to the something called "health care reform," let us take another look at the moral case for health care as a human right, as well as the question of religious faith and "health care for all:"

I'm quite fond of Rev. Adam Hamilton and I find his claim that justice - and for those who believe it, the God of justice - demands that all be cared for to be undeniable. No decent human being can deny this.

The Other fellow seems to have no argument at all. He simply repeats lame and false claims about "big government" and "paid abortions" and other nonsense. I really wish that one of these "anti-health reform" folks would for once actually consider the facts, offer a real argument, or provide at least some accurate data!

The weakest aspect of the argument offered by Lou Dobbs and by Hamilton's opponent is a failure to distinguish between the quality of care provided by the United States top notch doctors and hospitals as opposed to the lack of coverage provided for millions of Americans.

The argument is that America has the best health care because we have the best doctors, so why change it? We do have great doctors and wonderful hospitals. But the argument here completely misses the point. The Problem with our health care system is not the skill of our doctors, but the fact that millions of people don't have health insurance, or have health insurance that denies their claims. The issue is NOT the quality of care, but the lack of coverage.

Finally, the idea that health care must be rationed if it is extended to all and sundry, is absurd. Some countries, most notoriously Canada, have long waits. But many others countries (check out Japan, France, and Germany) have wait times as short as ours but still have universal health care coverage that costs less than ours.

Bookmark and Share

Ladainian Tomlinson shines again

I just want to celebrate the fact that the great Chargers running back, Ladainian Tomlinson, still has a little something left.

Perhaps its because he learned just before the game that his wife is preganant and he will be a dad for the first time. Surely something has put fire in his step again:

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bonfire Night: The Fight against Authority

The English tradition of Bonfire night, celebrated tonight, remembers the FAILED attempt to blow up the king and Parliament by angry religious Zealot, Guy Fawkes. It has its place I'm sure.

But ever since the graphic novel - and especially the film - V For Vendetta, the Fifth of November has taken on a new meaning. Bonfire night has become a night to celebrate defiance of authority in the name of individual freedom.

As a graphic novel, and more so as a film, V for Vendetta is an enjoyable but flawed product. It is in turn silly, delusional, and cheesy. But I like to be reminded that we must be wary of power structures, and ready to stand against them.

We must remind ourselves that power structures are everywhere. These structures attempt to decree from on high, how we must life, what is wrong and what is right, what is normal and what is "beyond the pale." We give them too much power. It is we, and not the power structures and systems of domination that should determine how we live and what we are.

Reflect a little this November 5th. Think about how power structures stifle freedom and what we can do to change that in our own lives and communities.

Remember, Remember the fifth of November .....

Bookmark and Share

Monday, November 2, 2009

Three Days of Death

For those of you who follow the liturgy, today is All Souls Day. Yesterday was All Saints Day, and the day before, of course, was Halloween.

I don't make it to church all that often. I attend a little more than the Easter & Christmas type, but not much; maybe 6-8 times a year. But I usually make it on All Saints day. I have find it interesting to contrast the two folk (as opposed to religious) holidays that fall on the last day of October and the first day of November respectively.

Halloween is largely about death and our fear of it. Halloween treats death as something terrifying, evil, and often coming to get us. Images of ghosts, zombies, skeletons, and other undead creatures abound. They are always vile, horrific, and ready to make us like them. Halloween reminds me that we fear death and run from it, but that we are ultimately doomed to be overtaken by it. Death is scary.

We should not downplay this aspect of death. We are frightened by it, we are uncomfortable with it. Halloween allows us to recognize and explore this fear. It is important that our radical unease with death be experienced first.

What comes after Halloween, however, changes the picture. The Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead is also marked by images of ghosts and skeletons. These images are, however, not so scary. For the Day of the Dead, death is something to be embraced and celebrated, reflected upon. We remember our dear departed and celebrate the fact that, though no longer living, they remain powerfully with us. Death need not be scary, but is a natural part of the celebration of life.

All Saints Day and All Souls Day have the same theme as the Day of the Dead. We celebrate not only the memory, but the continuing presence of the departed in our hearts, minds, and lives. We honor their memory and continue their work. When our time comes, we to will depart this life, but we also will leave a legacy and a presence behind.

It is important that we come to a place where we accept death as natural. We must learn to embrace it and to end our fear of it. But we cannot do this without fully confronting our fear of it, without recognizing this fear, without battling our demons.

It is very important that Day of the Dead and All Saints Day follow Halloween. We cannot make peace with our mortality until we have looked at it and our fear of it head on.

Bookmark and Share