Monday, January 25, 2010

Religion: The Making Of Mean People

Way back in the dark ages of the 60's, groups of young and glassy-eyed gigglers would pounce on you in airports and college campuses to proclaim their love for Jesus. These "Jesus Freaks" as they called themselves, were annoying but harmless as they really believed they were spreading a special message from their spiritual leader to love one another.

They were joined by their equally glassy-eyed but chanting and flower offering kin, the Hare Krishnas. No airport was safe from their good-hearted but increasingly annoying invitation to chant your way to blissful idiotic happiness.

But somewhere in the last couple decades, the message of love in both these cults got lost to the mean-spirited, hateful and politicized rhetoric that Christianity has become. The Hare Krishna's fell into abuse and depravity from all that love and chanting, and the Jesus Freaks went from preaching love to bombing abortion clinics, murdering doctors, hating gays, and loving executions and war.

Political thugs and media whores have taken advantage of an increasingly dumb and religion-befuddled population by turning them into mobs programmed to hate on command. They learned what the other religion-based regimes learned: give the population a religion they can use to justify their hate and you control their balls for life.

Of course, the logical question is what use could a group of ignorant hating morons be to anyone, other than flying planes into buildings? And the obvious and sad reason is they can be used and used, and then used some more by those who see them as convenient political tools to advance their personal enrichment agenda.

To how many fundie whackos did Karl Rove promise he would get abortion outlawed if they only voted for Bush? Or how many pockets did he and his fellow Goposaur thugs pick with the promise that the donations would banish all gays forever from the face of the planet? Or that those scary brown and dark-skinned people would never be allowed to live next door to them? Or that immigrants were all bad and would never be allowed to walk on the sacred ground of America to take their toilet-cleaning jobs from them again? All they had to do was vote for Bush and god would be happy and not strike them dead.

Rove and the other paid whores of the super-rich played these poor fools like the morons they were. It was a small step from filling them with Jesus wants you to donate to these candidates this week, to getting them to die in the new wars of the new Christian crusade grounds in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it was sadly an even smaller step to use religion as a wedge to divide the country against itself so the thievery could go on undetected as Americans fought Americans over ideas.

Centuries from now, if our poor planet still exists, the History of this time will seem incredulous to ordinary human beings. They will ask themselves, as we ask ourselves now when we read our own history of the last few decades, how could people just sit around and watch whole groups of people be murdered and villified in the name of religion? They will wonder why no one stood up and said this is wrong, this is evil, this is not what Jesus meant when he said to love one another, to live in Peace.

And the answer will be found in the following, the voices who will become through the historical passage of time, our own voices. Is this whose voices you want to speak for you many years from now? Is this what will cause future generations to say of us: they were wiped out by their religious intolerance for any cult but their own.

Pat Robertson on the Haiti Earthquake, an event that will definitely make the history books. Watch

South Carolina Lt.-Gov. Andre Bauer on how our generation dealt with the poor and the hungry, a subject that will be part of history because the sheer numbers of those going without food in one of the wealthiest countries of the world is definitely material for future generations to study. Watch

Is this the voice of Christian love you want representing you many years from now because the issue of overpopulation and therefore abortion, will definitely be a subject in future history books. Read

And how will you feel when they talk about the military, those who fought in our wars? No, not THOSE veterans. Those are too ordinary and history is already suffering from a glut of them. This is the army that will make the history books and shame you in your grave. Read

And of course, no history will be complete without the intolerance that was honed and used like a sword for dimwitted morons to stab themselves with by that religious Tool-in-Chief, George W. Bush. Read

But the complete package, the most astonishing bit of history that will appall and confound future historians will be the livid hatred that only decades of festering racism can unleash on the first African-American President--especially that directed by so-called men of god. Read

What they will see from the perspective of objective Historians with decades of previous thought to ponder, is a culture of hatred fostered by people who used religion as a ways and means to achieve intolerance, political power, and personal wealth. And unless we throw off these masters who control this country through the most ignorant layers of humanity, the last chapter in the historical records will end with us destroying each other over whose god reigned supreme.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Useful Idiots

There are stupid people in the world, uneducated brainwashed morons who wouldn't know an original thought if it slapped them upside their mentally challenged heads. And then there are the other kind--the useful idiots. These are the tools of powerful people with an agenda that revolves around the only thing they care about--money.

These tools are the ones who are the first step up when a nation calls on them to be eavesdroppers and spy on their neighbors, or turn them in for imagined crimes simply because they belong to the wrong ethnic group. They are the camp guards in death camps, the thugs who guard the despot's gates from the citizen rabble. They are the ones who are the first to dig into their dead companions and start eating before the flesh is even cold because their own survival matters more than ethics or honor or compassion.

In High School they were the nasty little weenies who went crying to the teachers, to the Principal, to anyone who would reward them for being mean little tattletales. They did this not out of any sense of honor or justice but usually as payback for everyone accurately seeing them for the jerks they were. And for a meager little reward, a lollipop for their whoring betrayal of everyone they came into contact with, was payment enough for them.

These awful little cretins grew up to be the Rush Limbaugh's and Pat Robertson's of the world, mean and hateful excuses for human beings. Every time they open their mouths and spew their hateful agendas, they reveal the pathetic creatures they truly are. I mean, come on, how many drugs does someone like Limbaugh have to take before he quits gagging at the sight of his own face in the mirror, and how much of the Bible does Pat Robertson have to shit on before he runs out of justifications for his bigotry?

What neither of these hatemongering cretins understand is they are useful idiots whose strings are being pulled by those with an agenda that cares nothing about them or what they believe. They have one purpose and that is to gather all the rabble in one place so they can more effectively be used to further someone elses agenda. For this they need the useful idiots to act as their shepherds, their brainwashers, their propaganda ministers.

The Fundamentalist Wingnuts and the Teabaggers did not grow out of a grassroot snake pit but instead were created, funded, and directed by Corporations who are terrified the American people will wake up and realize how badly they're being screwed. The useful idiots like Limbaugh and Robertson feed them the poison that's provided by their masters in order to keep the rabble ready for whatever they are slated to be used for, sort of an army of moron robots who will follow each other off a cliff if it means they get to hate gays and black people on the way down.

But there's a risk in how far they can go before ordinary people start realizing that nausea they feel is their conscience recoiling against the hatred spewing from their radios and from their pulpits. Each time someone like Limbaugh capitalizes on human tragedy in order to keep his masters from cutting off his drug supply, or someone like Robertson trashes the Bible by turning it into the book of hate, more and more people start to see them as the pathetic and hateful trolls they truly are.

Their sick comments about Haiti which I refuse to link to or give them any more access to people with, crossed the line for a lot of people today who ordinarily would just dismiss them as the sick fucks they are. Today they projected themselves into the future in a lot of people's minds a few short years from now when they are old, ostracized and trying to defend their hate-filled lives. Hopefully they won't use that worn out excuse that they were only following orders and instead take responsibility for the hurt and harm they did to America in the eyes of the world.

But I somehow doubt it. I think they will die lonely and defeated old haters whose graves have to be hidden from the public so people won't make pilgrimages to use them as personal toilets. They will be used as examples of what happens when really bad and greedy people find a way to get others to do their dirty work for them. Children will grow up vowing to never be them, to live a life that is the opposite of everything they stood for in their short and insignificant times.

Judging from the ferocity and stupidity of the shit spewing from their mouths, I am certain I will be alive to see that day as hate has a way of consuming the hater from within. It's a cancer and it's feeding on both of them with an unrelenting hunger. They are eating themselves from within.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What I Believe

I had one of those interesting email exchanges tonight with a reader of this blog. He wanted to know exactly what I believed if I didn't believe in god. After the obligatory explanation that according to the gospel of me, there's nothing for me to either believe or not believe in, we moved on to what I consider a legitimate question.

Of course I believe in something. I believe in a lot of somethings. I believe first of all that we are personally accountable for everything we do and think, because outside of ourselves, there's nothing to lay the blame on.

Yes, events shape us, but that's the extent of it. How we respond to that shaping defines who we are as human beings, and god has always seemed a too convenient place to dump personal responsibility. Not having that excuse, I'm left with only my sense of honor and integrity to believe in and guide me.

One of the issues that disturb some of those I discuss my Atheism with is the notion of punishment and reward. As one believer wrote me "But without God there is no punishment for bad people who aren't criminals, and no reward for people who are good and deserve to be eternally blessed for it."

My response to her was that of course there was punishment and reward, but it was punishment and reward that left third party smiters out of the equation. If a person is bad, there's nothing anyone really has to do but wait patiently. The badness doesn't go away; it just finds a bigger audience who eventually puts it all together and says: this is a bad person. Then they adjust their relationship and interaction with that person based on their individual needs and tolerances.

It has nothing to do with vengeance but a whole lot to do with awareness that all relationships are between two people, and anything else is interfering in the natural process of human interaction.

I believe in peace because I think war destroys our humanity. Each death, no matter how small, be it fly or elephant, takes something from us to accomplish. Think of the first time you killed a fly. There was an uneasiness about it, a sort of gnawing sense that it was wrong. Your first swat was probably gentle, tentative, and filled with the total awareness of what you were about to do.

It became easier after that and with each one it became easier because there was less humanity to stand in the way. Eventually it became commonplace and it meant nothing to kill dozens of flies mindlessly each day. This is how war operates on a larger scale because each battle is a fly and each war is the death of human dignity pieces we will never regain.

I believe in being nice to people because it is one of those seeds that gets spread around and keeps growing. Compassion is like a smile. It spreads easily, even if only briefly. I believe those moments grow into larger ones and are an important part of the stitching together of a better world.

I believe in taking care of one another because as corny and trite as it sounds, we really are the world. If we all picked one person to give to, to make sure they had something extra in their lives they might not have if it weren't for us, we would have that better world a lot quicker than the pace it is moving now.

I believe in love because it's the only thing I've seen that can change people. The trick to love is learning how to channel it positively so it doesn't consume you and those around you. It's a fire that can do a lot of good if it is used to burn only for good things, ideas, passions, and dreams.

I believe in the power of music to change the world. As long as we have access to each other's music, we have something to share that doesn't require language to communicate. In fact, not understanding the words is what may eventually save us because it strips the politics, the biases, the blame, the whining, the desperation from it and leaves the pure musical message that enters our hearts and minds as it was meant to do.

I profoundly believe in the awesome healing power of nature. I have yet to meet a person, a drug, a healer, or anything written, described, drawn, painted, defined that even comes close to what happens inside of us when we let the majesty of an ocean sunset, a refreshing pine-scented breeze, a perfectly blue sky, a field of flowers touch our hearts and say hello to pieces of self we didn't even know we had.

So you see, I do believe. I could go on and on because there's a whole lot more I believe, but as you can already see, my lack of belief in what you believe doesn't make me empty. I feel pretty full and satisfied with my existence. And I don't have to give it away to anyone--real or imaginary.


Friday, January 08, 2010

So Many Stupid People, So Few Asteroids

I read a lot of blogs. I read the comments section of blogs. When I'm not working, I read. And as in real life, the quality and subject matter varies according to the authors. But it's in the comments left behind where the real consistency is often found, where the types wrap themselves up in their predictability and let everyone know who and what they are almost immediately. Here are the types I see most often:

1. SPAM In the top position are spammers, the cut and pasters who want to give me a huge penis and also gigantic breasts. Yeah, those work really well together. And I don't have to worry about paying for them because everyone wants to lend me money so I can also afford to buy all the drugs I'm offered on a daily basis.

2. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY TALKING POINT is the winner of the second position. These are the equivalent of the seedy looking guy handing out leaflets on the street corner. Once upon a time when the Goposaurs had endless money to buy propaganda, they paid shills to go post the daily talking point on the opposition's blogs. Now that they spent all their money on tea bags, they have to rely on the "one issue crazies" to spread the word for free. That's why you'll find badly spelled and grammatically creative diatribes about birth certificates and other whacked out conspiracy fantasies smack in the middle of a discussion of northerly bird migrations. Nothing stands in the way of them posting their talking point, no matter how bad the fit.

They do have their counterparts in the Liberal version who post passionate and tediously long polemics on what they perceive should be obvious to everyone who has at least a graduate level degree in political science, and the fact that most people don't is usually proof that the world really is going to hell...and they'll be glad to postulate why in postings that exceed the length limit and have to be carried over to the next post, and sometimes the next.

3. THE FETUS MILITIA In third position are the absolute crazies who turn every discussion into the holy fetus war. And they always make a point of mentioning how they're guaranteed the right to bear the arms they're going to practice the sanctity of human life with by killing abortion doctors. Often you don't even have to read their posts because they're instantly recognizable by their incomprehensible sentence structure and words that were never in their miserable little lives, meant to be spelled so atrociously.

4. GOD'S IDIOT CHILDREN In position number four are the real whacked out loonies who go on about how we're such a great nation because we have freedom of religion and goddamnit they will fucking kill your ass if you don't happen to share the freedom of their own particular religion and prefer one of your own, or none at all. They've taught me that the most fervent the believer, the greater variations of fuck they will use in their posts, as in fuck you you fucking fuck go fucking rot in fucking hell.

5. HELP MY CAPS KEY IS STUCK In position number five is angry white male who can't figure out how to unstick the caps key. Usually has an assholes on line email addy and is fond of phrases such as Nobama and Obamacare with various references to nazis, stalin, commies, socialists, birth certificates and patriotism. No matter what the discussion, he will leave an angry, hate-filled, conspiracy-theory fueled, badly spelled attack against Obama all typed with HIS CAP KEY STUCK.

These are just a few of the regulars who frequent some of the blogs I read. I chose them because they're so common and so predictable that you can almost see the next word before it's typed. The phrases are so similar, the sentence structure so wonderfully creative, the ideas so deliciously insane that in some strange way, they make my day as it lets me know once more that when whoever the great "they" is with the nets, there's a whole shit load of crazies in line for capture before me so I can slip easily away unnoticed for a long long time.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Imperfect Humans and the cleansing of memory

The end of one year and the beginning of another seems to set ghosts dancing on the edge of my days until I acknowledge them in some way. I usually pacify them by writing a poem, making some art, or just sitting with a glass of wine and remembering what they brought to my life, what would be lacking without their transit through my reality, and how they left the dust of some of themselves on me in some way.

Today the ghost took the shape of a man I met many years ago. I was at a very disillusioned point in time. I'd just survived a serious illness and wasn't sure I wanted to get my hopes up and believe I was going to live. I was like a rock in the river that the water washes over in degrees of cold, heat, purity, and sediment-stuffed surprise attacks. He was the ultimate cynic and of course I had to check out what made him this way because he seemed to come by it so naturally it was almost a gift.

There's an old joke that the most dangerous words a woman can say are "I can save this man." But in his sense of salvation it was less the man himself I wanted to save, than it was I wanted to understand what he represented. I thought if I could understand the depths of the system that made him who he was, I could learn something previously unexplored about the nature of war and use it for peace in that roundabout way of believing if you know the enemy, you can defeat it on its own battlefield.

For us the battlefield was mental. He was arrogant, opinionated, highly intelligent in that raw, forced disciplined way of being intelligent that comes from systemic discipline rather than desire to know and understand. He spent much of his life as a piece of machinery in a country that didn't value him as a human being beyond what he could contribute as a functioning piece of working asset.

That made him shit to relate to in any way but intellectually, and in that he excelled. His mind was a mysterious path that I jumped in eagerly to explore. I wanted to know what made him so cold to those he professed to love with a passion found only in the pages of his favorite literature, and I realized it was because he never learned to value human beings. He grew up knowing he could be easily replaced at any time, that he had no value beyond what he could provide in the moment, and that if he wanted to succeed in maintaining a relative and safe anonymity, it was best not to dwell too long in the emotional realm because that was the path to danger.

Of course this was unacceptable to me. I was and am the ultimate romantic when it comes to people's mental playgrounds. I know there's something special hidden inside everyone and I dig and dig until I get a glimpse of it. Sometimes that's enough for me, and at other times it is the hand that reaches out and drags me down the rabbit hole.

He was the biggest rabbit hole I ever fell into and it was a trip that while I have no desire to ever repeat again, I wouldn't trade for anything because it gave me an understanding of what war, what meanness, what lack of respect for a humanity creates in a population.

I'm a stubborn woman and because I believe in people's essential goodness, I was able to relate to him in a way that satisfied me at the time. I stuck to the path that we shared: literature, cultural music, and nature. I didn't want to look too deeply inside the part of him that was cruel and callous, that could profess friendship and then cut your heart the next day for his own amusement.

He was the little Prince of every mother who thinks her son is the chosen one, and the nightmare of every woman who tried to relate to him on an emotional level. I watched him go through relationships as if they were disposable jars he could stuff with his dreams and then throw away when they became too ordinary.

I think if anything defined him, other than being a train wreck son of a flawed human system, it was that he feared the ordinary. As he was growing up, the sensitive child he must have been at some time was brutally smacked down and he learned to adapt and mimic the ordinary mediocrity of existence. He didn't stand out. He didn't draw attention to himself. He merely existed.

But within that existence there was a lovely and nurturing escape: books. It was our deepest connection to each other, this eternal appreciation of books as lifesaving devices. I always carried a book around with me as a child. It was my foil against the shyness that haunted me most of my young life, the fear of interacting with strangers, the terror that someone would hurt me or tease me or try and destroy me. For him, it was the small glimmer of hope that maybe one day life would resemble something close to what he read about rather than what he was forced to live on a day to day basis.

But for both of us, the books that saved us also spoiled the ordinary for us. We could never settle for anything that was tedious, mediocre, boring. Life had to imitate art or it was neither life nor art.

I eventually couldn't handle how he treated women, the callousness in which he broke their hearts and walked away without a second glance when they stopped being princesses in magical kingdoms needing rescuing, and instead became ordinary women. I could understand it, but I couldn't condone it. So I walked away. It broke my heart in a way I never expected it to, but to stay would have damaged my honor, my integrity, my sense the world as a beautiful place.

Even after all these years he remains in my thoughts and for him, for all the potential that I hoped he would one day realize, I made something beautiful for him, something to contemplate, something to say thank you for the first lessons on what it meant to point a camera at something and have it return back at least a small piece of what the eyes and heart saw and created together.

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